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God on the Rocksby Jane Gardam
1978 Booker Prize Shortlist
Synopses & Reviews
It is with great pleasure that Europa Editions makes this Booker Prize short-listed novel newly available to the legions of Gardam fans.
Originally published in Great Britain in 1978, the novel describes Margaret Marsh's coming of age one summer between the world wars. Caught in the backwash of a fervently religious father, a mother bitterly nostalgic for what might have been, the tea and sympathy of some thoroughly secular neighbors and the bawdy jokes of her nanny Lydia, Margaret's world hurtles towards a shattering moment of truth. Drama, tragedy and a touch of farce lend themselves to Gardam's typically eloquent prose. With subtlety and precision, God on the Rocks provides an intimate portrait of the tensions that divide men and women, present and past, and the love and sorrow that lingers throughout.
Jane Gardam's reputation in the United States has been greatly enlarged by the critical acclaim and commercial success garnered by her latest novels, last year's Man in the Wooden Hat and her masterpiece Old Filth. Now, newcomers and fans alike can enjoy the pleasure of the splendid writing that established Gardam's considerable canon some four decades ago.
"American readers first turned on to Gardam via Old Filth are in for a surprise with the witty though decidedly more serious story of Margaret Marsh, who comes of age in interwar England. Margaret grows up the only child in an oppressively religious household, and her world gets a much-needed shaking up when her mother, Ellie, has another child and hires a maid, the bawdy but loving Lydia. Lydia immediately begins taking Margaret on day trips that open her eyes to the way others live. Margaret's father, Kenneth, meanwhile, sees Lydia as a laboratory for his Godly work, though he ends up being a less than ideal practitioner of the moral lifestyle he preaches. Then there's Ellie, whose reintroduction to a long-lost love tempts her down the path of what might have been. It all leads to a precipice of disillusion for Margaret regarding her parents' behavior, shattering her perceptions and leading to tragedy. Gardam doesn't waste a word, and the story reads as fresh and relevant now as when it was originally published in Great Britain in 1978. (Nov.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
"Gardam orchestrates the subtle evolution of character and plot with Olympian omniscience and wry humor." The Boston Globe
"Gardam is a unique and wonderful writer." Huffington Post
"We are in the hands of a master storyteller." The New York Times
"A treasure." Library Journal
"Gardam doesn't waste a word, and the story reads as fresh and relevant now as when it was originally published in Great Britain in 1978." Publisher's Weekly
Originally published in Great Britain in 1978, Gardam's Booker Prize short-listed novel describes Margaret Marsh's coming of age one summer between two world wars. Drama, tragedy, and a touch of farce lend themselves to Gardam's typically eloquent prose.
About the Author
Jane Gardam lives with her husband and three children in England.
Her first book, Black Faces, White Faces (1975), a collection of short stories, won both the David Higham Prize for Fiction and the Winifred Holtby Memorial Prize. Subsequent collections of short stories include The Pangs of Love and Other Stories (1983), winner of the Katherine Mansfield Award and Going into a Dark House (1994), which was awarded the PEN Macmillan Silver Pen Award (1995). Gardam’s first novel, God on the Rocks (1978), was adapted for television in 1992. It won the Prix Baudelaire (France) in 1989 and was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. Her other novels include The Queen of the Tambourine (1991), which won the Whitbread Novel Award; and The Flight of the Maidens (2000), which was adapted for BBC Radio 4's Woman's Hour.
In 1999 Jane Gardam was awarded the Heywood Hill Literary Prize in recognition of a distinguished literary career.
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