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1 Burnside Literature- A to Z

When We Were Romans

by

When We Were Romans Cover

ISBN13: 9780385526258
ISBN10: 0385526253
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
All Product Details

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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Nine-year-old Lawrence is the man in his family. He carefully watches over his willful little sister, Jemima, and his mother, Hannah. When Hannah becomes convinced that their estranged father is stalking them, the family flees London and heads for Rome, where Hannah lived happily as a young woman. For Lawrence, fascinated by stories of popes and emperors, Rome is an adventure. Though they are short of money, and move from home to home, staying with his mother's old friends, little by little their new life seems to be taking shape. But the trouble that brought them to Italy will not quite leave them in peace.

Narrated in Lawrence's perfectly rendered voice, When We Were Romans powerfully evokes the emotions and confusions of childhood — the triumphs, the jealousies, the fears, and the love. Even as everything he understands is turned upside down, Lawrence remains determined to keep his family together. Like the young narrators of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time and To Kill a Mockingbird, Lawrence views the world from a perspective that is at once endearingly innocent and preternaturally wise.

Review:

"Kneale, who won the Whitbread for English Passengers (2000), returns with a tale narrated by fiery, precocious, pitch-perfect Lawrence, who at nine years old struggles with being at once a normal kid and, with his parents' estrangement, the man of the house. Living with his baby sister Jemima, and his mother, Hannah, in a cottage by a wood, Lawrence and Co. are menaced by their father, 'Mikie,' who seems to come down from Scotland at will to stalk them. At her wits end, Hannah packs the family into the car and heads (through the Channel Tunnel) for Rome, where she had lived in early adulthood and where, it soon becomes clear, she still has a lot of friends. Bewildered but brave Lawrence wonderfully describes the people they encounter: as he attempts to figure out who is an 'enimy' and who a friend, he muses on deep space and gladiatorial Roman history ('Nero was so pleased, he thought 'hurrah, I really am a good singer' '). As small incongruities pile up between what Lawrence sees and how he interprets what happens to him, the family's hurtlings across Europe and the city take on a shattered poignancy. (July)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

Matthew Kneale is an extraordinary British writer whose new novel is easy to admire because of its artistry, but difficult to read because of its painful subject. If "extraordinary" sounds too much like hyperbolic reviewer-speak, I would direct skeptics to Kneale's "English Passengers" (2000), his award-winning novel about the mid-19th-century colonizing of Tasmania that's part rollicking high-seas... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review)

Review:

"One of the best explorations of a child's mind and heart in recent fiction, and its talented author's best book yet." Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)

Review:

"[A] haunting story of a family in disintegration....Kneale has created a marvelously engaging and believable voice for Lawrence, whose account is at once heartbreaking and humorous....Idiosyncratic, original, and altogether memorable." Booklist (Starred Review)

Review:

"Like Scout in To Kill a Mockingbird...young Lawrence, nine years old and the 'man' of the family, brings readers into his world, powerfully connecting us to the drama of his childhood." Pat Conroy, author of The Prince of Tides

Review:

"As Lawrence immerses himself in Roman history from a series of 'Horrible Histories,' he renders the story of his mother's breakdown with touching sensitivity and vulnerability. Very highly recommended." Library Journal

Review:

"This narrative is heartbreakingly moving....Full of restraint and artistic integrity, this is a poignant, haunting and lovely novel." The Guardian (U.K.)

Review:

"How much Lawrence understands of his family's tribulations is the book's central, poignant mystery; the consummate artistry with which Kneale captures this child's voice, its chief pleasure." Entertainment Weekly

About the Author

Matthew Kneale was born in London in 1960, the son of two writers. He is author of numerous prizewinning novels, including the bestselling English Passengers, which won the Whitbread Book of the Year Award and was short-listed for the Booker Prize. He lives with his wife and two children in Rome.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

Jena, September 18, 2008 (view all comments by Jena)
I couldn't get into the kid-style narration and quit about 1/3 of the way through. It's painful enough to read nine-year-olds' writing when they haven't mastered complete sentences yet and it's only a couple of pages long; I didn't feel I needed to subject myself to an adult imitating that for a couple hundred pages.
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(5 of 11 readers found this comment helpful)

Product Details

ISBN:
9780385526258
Subtitle:
A Novel
Author:
Kneale, Matthew
Publisher:
Nan A. Talese
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
English
Subject:
Problem families
Subject:
Rome (italy)
Copyright:
Publication Date:
July 2008
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
240
Dimensions:
8.62x6.94x.85 in. .88 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

When We Were Romans Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$6.50 In Stock
Product details 240 pages Nan A. Talese - English 9780385526258 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Kneale, who won the Whitbread for English Passengers (2000), returns with a tale narrated by fiery, precocious, pitch-perfect Lawrence, who at nine years old struggles with being at once a normal kid and, with his parents' estrangement, the man of the house. Living with his baby sister Jemima, and his mother, Hannah, in a cottage by a wood, Lawrence and Co. are menaced by their father, 'Mikie,' who seems to come down from Scotland at will to stalk them. At her wits end, Hannah packs the family into the car and heads (through the Channel Tunnel) for Rome, where she had lived in early adulthood and where, it soon becomes clear, she still has a lot of friends. Bewildered but brave Lawrence wonderfully describes the people they encounter: as he attempts to figure out who is an 'enimy' and who a friend, he muses on deep space and gladiatorial Roman history ('Nero was so pleased, he thought 'hurrah, I really am a good singer' '). As small incongruities pile up between what Lawrence sees and how he interprets what happens to him, the family's hurtlings across Europe and the city take on a shattered poignancy. (July)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "One of the best explorations of a child's mind and heart in recent fiction, and its talented author's best book yet."
"Review" by , "[A] haunting story of a family in disintegration....Kneale has created a marvelously engaging and believable voice for Lawrence, whose account is at once heartbreaking and humorous....Idiosyncratic, original, and altogether memorable."
"Review" by , "Like Scout in To Kill a Mockingbird...young Lawrence, nine years old and the 'man' of the family, brings readers into his world, powerfully connecting us to the drama of his childhood."
"Review" by , "As Lawrence immerses himself in Roman history from a series of 'Horrible Histories,' he renders the story of his mother's breakdown with touching sensitivity and vulnerability. Very highly recommended."
"Review" by , "This narrative is heartbreakingly moving....Full of restraint and artistic integrity, this is a poignant, haunting and lovely novel."
"Review" by , "How much Lawrence understands of his family's tribulations is the book's central, poignant mystery; the consummate artistry with which Kneale captures this child's voice, its chief pleasure."
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