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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

The four main characters in Melissa Harrison debut novel have little in common: neither background, age, nor gender. But they do share one thing: a small litter-blown park in the middle of a city. The city is a strange place for Jozif. After living in a Polish village for much of his life, he is struggling to adjust to the tall, grey landscape of apartment living, and his job in a local deli serving french fries and fried chicken to brash, self-assured children makes him feel even more disconnected from the surrounding population. It is only when he encounters TC, a troubled boy running away from school, that Jozif finds a kindred spirit with whom he can share his fascination with the natural world.Tracking animals in the sparse parkland, the two are noticed by a friendly local , the elderly and recently widowed Sophia, who has been attempting to spark an interest in nature in her granddaughter, Daisy. While Sophia sends Daisy letters each week about the growth of the flowers they planted together, Jozif attempts to extract, over games of chess, the details of TC's troubled home life, a home left broken by the departure of the boy's father. Like leaves twisting in the wind, the lives of these four figures are blown together, defying the gravity affecting the world around them. That is, until the pressures of modern life intervene.A beautiful debut novel reflecting the destructive nature of humanity, and the indelible effects people can have on the environment and those around them, Clay poetically captures the delicate balances of life in the city, between young and old, between nature and development, between recklessness and caution.

Review:

"The alluring pull of nature unites four strangers in this overly ambitious debut. At the center of it all is young TC, a lonely nine-year-old kid with an indifferent mother, absent father, and a penchant for skipping school to spend time in a city park, a place of solace for him. There he befriends Jozef, a Polish immigrant nostalgic for life back on his family's farm; recently widowed Sophia, who is more afraid of relying on her distant daughter than she is of her increasingly alarming heart palpitations (her husband died of a heart attack); and Sophia's precocious granddaughter, Daisy, sheltered by an overprotective mother but intensely curious about the world. As TC's home life unravels, he seeks a haven in the secret garden of the park, where he can live closer to nature, but an unfortunate misunderstanding brings the real world crashing down on everyone. Chapter titles named after traditional harvest feasts indicate the passing of time — the novel unfolds over the course of a year — and the pure and poetic descriptions of nature mark the changing seasons beautifully. Although Harrison's lush images of the natural world rescue the story somewhat, they leave little room for meaningful development of the characters or any real sense of connection between them. Agent: Jenny Jewson, Rogers, Coleridge & White (U.K.)." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Synopsis:

The city is a strange place for Jozef. After living in a Polish village for much of his life, he is struggling to adjust to the tall, grey landscape of apartment living, and his job in a local deli serving french fries and fried chicken to brash, self-assured children makes him feel even more disconnected from the surrounding population. It is only when he encounters TC, a troubled boy running away from school, that Jozef finds a kindred spirit with whom he can share his fascination with the natural world.The two are noticed in a small litter-strewn park by a friendly local, the elderly and recently widowed Sophia, who has been attempting to spark an interest in nature in her granddaughter, Daisy. While Sophia sends Daisy letters each week about the growth of the flowers in the park, Jozef attempts to extract, over games of chess, the details of TC's troubled home life-left broken by the departure of the boy's father. Like leaves twisting in the wind, the lives of these four figures are blown together, defying the gravity affecting the world around them. That is, until the pressures of modern life intervene.

Synopsis:

The city is a strange place for Jozef. After living in a Polish village for much of his life, he is struggling to adjust to the tall, grey landscape of apartment living, and his job in a local deli serving french fries and fried chicken to brash, self-assured children makes him feel even more disconnected from the surrounding population. It is only when he encounters TC, a troubled boy running away from school, that Jozef finds a kindred spirit with whom he can share his fascination with the natural world.

The two are noticed in a small litter-strewn park by a friendly local, the elderly and recently widowed Sophia, who has been attempting to spark an interest in nature in her granddaughter, Daisy. While Sophia sends Daisy letters each week about the growth of the flowers in the park, Jozef attempts to extract, over games of chess, the details of TC's troubled home life-left broken by the departure of the boy's father. Like leaves twisting in the wind, the lives of these four figures are blown together, defying the gravity affecting the world around them. That is, until the pressures of modern life intervene.

About the Author

Melissa Harrison was born in Great Britain in 1975, the youngest child in a family of six. She studied English at Oxford University and graduated with First Class Honors in 1996. She has worked as a book and magazine editor and currently writes for Vogue, Time Out, Stuff and The Guardian. Melissa lives in South London with her husband, Anthony, and rescue dog, Scout. She is currently working on her second novel.

Product Details

ISBN:
9781608199785
Author:
Harrison, Melissa
Publisher:
Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Publication Date:
20130231
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Language:
English
Pages:
272
Dimensions:
8.25 x 5.5 in

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Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

Clay Used Hardcover
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Product details 272 pages Bloomsbury Publishing PLC - English 9781608199785 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "The alluring pull of nature unites four strangers in this overly ambitious debut. At the center of it all is young TC, a lonely nine-year-old kid with an indifferent mother, absent father, and a penchant for skipping school to spend time in a city park, a place of solace for him. There he befriends Jozef, a Polish immigrant nostalgic for life back on his family's farm; recently widowed Sophia, who is more afraid of relying on her distant daughter than she is of her increasingly alarming heart palpitations (her husband died of a heart attack); and Sophia's precocious granddaughter, Daisy, sheltered by an overprotective mother but intensely curious about the world. As TC's home life unravels, he seeks a haven in the secret garden of the park, where he can live closer to nature, but an unfortunate misunderstanding brings the real world crashing down on everyone. Chapter titles named after traditional harvest feasts indicate the passing of time — the novel unfolds over the course of a year — and the pure and poetic descriptions of nature mark the changing seasons beautifully. Although Harrison's lush images of the natural world rescue the story somewhat, they leave little room for meaningful development of the characters or any real sense of connection between them. Agent: Jenny Jewson, Rogers, Coleridge & White (U.K.)." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Synopsis" by ,
The city is a strange place for Jozef. After living in a Polish village for much of his life, he is struggling to adjust to the tall, grey landscape of apartment living, and his job in a local deli serving french fries and fried chicken to brash, self-assured children makes him feel even more disconnected from the surrounding population. It is only when he encounters TC, a troubled boy running away from school, that Jozef finds a kindred spirit with whom he can share his fascination with the natural world.The two are noticed in a small litter-strewn park by a friendly local, the elderly and recently widowed Sophia, who has been attempting to spark an interest in nature in her granddaughter, Daisy. While Sophia sends Daisy letters each week about the growth of the flowers in the park, Jozef attempts to extract, over games of chess, the details of TC's troubled home life-left broken by the departure of the boy's father. Like leaves twisting in the wind, the lives of these four figures are blown together, defying the gravity affecting the world around them. That is, until the pressures of modern life intervene.
"Synopsis" by ,
The city is a strange place for Jozef. After living in a Polish village for much of his life, he is struggling to adjust to the tall, grey landscape of apartment living, and his job in a local deli serving french fries and fried chicken to brash, self-assured children makes him feel even more disconnected from the surrounding population. It is only when he encounters TC, a troubled boy running away from school, that Jozef finds a kindred spirit with whom he can share his fascination with the natural world.

The two are noticed in a small litter-strewn park by a friendly local, the elderly and recently widowed Sophia, who has been attempting to spark an interest in nature in her granddaughter, Daisy. While Sophia sends Daisy letters each week about the growth of the flowers in the park, Jozef attempts to extract, over games of chess, the details of TC's troubled home life-left broken by the departure of the boy's father. Like leaves twisting in the wind, the lives of these four figures are blown together, defying the gravity affecting the world around them. That is, until the pressures of modern life intervene.
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