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"Read one page of this English comedy and you'll not be surprised to learn that Gardam already has two Whitbread Awards under her belt. Her characters, Dickensian in their number, variety, and abounding eccentricities, carry on so convincingly that she seems to be channeling, rather than creating, these people....Gardam couples her genius for the close-up, perfectly rendered portrait with a taste for satisfyingly neat structure and grand notions of hope for humanity..." Christina Schwarz, The Atlantic Monthly (read the entire Atlantic Monthly review)
Synopses & Reviews
Faith Fox is a sparkling novel of comedy and conversation, birth and death, and the differences between England's well-born and plain people from a two-time winner of the Whitbread Prize and Booker Prize finalist. This comedy of manners set in early '90s Britain centers around newborn Faith Fox, the daughter of the sweet, healthy, and hearty pearl of her Surrey village, Holly Fox, who inexplicably dies in childbirth. Faith's beanpole father can't and won't look after her. Holly's mother — a matron from Surrey's gin-and-tonic belt who is ostensibly full of good nature, good sense, and sociability — refuses to acknowledge the baby whose birth killed the daughter she loved. And so an extraordinary group of family, friends, and strangers converge to make sure that Faith Fox ends up raised well in the right hands. The concerned parties include an ascetic priest of an uncle in Northern England who runs a commune with his unfaithful ex-hippie wife and her precocious, lonely son; the Tibetan refugees staying there; and the splendidly bickering and ancient paternal grandparents. As Faith's future unravels amidst the shifting scenes of high society and low, the old and the young, Jane Gardam explores the English heart in all its eccentric variety.
"[T]he novel features a highly entertaining cast of dotty characters whose class, ethnic and religious differences are wonderfully deconstructed by Gardam's sharp, dark wit." Publishers Weekly
"Gardam clearly knows the mantra of many writers: Through the particulars we reveal the universal." Janet St. John, Booklist
Faith Fox is a novel of comedy and conversation, birth and death, and the differences between England's well-born and plain people.
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