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Daughters of the House [Paperback]

Michele Roberts

Price: CDN$ 15.99 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25. Details
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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

This richly atmospheric tale of murder and adolescent rivalry between two cousins was shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 1992.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

In this lyrical novel, cousins Therese and Leonie come together and look back on their childhood spent in a small French village just after World War II. Events of the past (the Nazi occupation, the death of Therese's mother, and the mysterious betrayal of a French resistance fighter and a family of Jews who had been hidden in Therese's house) still resonate in their lives. In response, Therese turns to religion, while Leonie devotes herself to the minutiae of an ordinary life. Despite some good writing, the book fails to engage the reader because Roberts, author of several novels and collections of poetry, cannot make up her mind whether it is about adolescent religious fervor (in which case, Ron Hansen's Mariette in Ecstasy , Harper, 1991, is much superior) or the treachery of memory. This novel was short-listed for the Booker Prize and won the W.H. Smith Prize for 1992 in Britain. Libraries with large literary fiction collections should consider.
- Nancy Pearl, Washington Center for the Book at the Seattle P. L.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Kirkus Reviews

A 1992 Booker Prize finalist, this gothic sixth novel by a London author, poet, and playwright (The Visitation--not reviewed) plumbs the dark secrets left in a villa in Normandy by the Nazi officers who were once billeted there. Twenty years ago, during the French Occupation of WW II, ascetic Antoinette Martin of Normandy became pregnant and was forced to give up her dream of becoming a nun. She married a local low-born admirer and gave birth to a girl, Th‚rŠse; soon after, Antoinette's widowed sister, Madeleine, returned to the villa with her own young daughter, L‚onie, to keep Antoinette company. Cousins Th‚rŠse and L‚onie, who disliked each other instantly, struggled through their postwar childhoods in an uneasy truce, aware but not aware that in the depths of the old villa lived a secret they were forbidden to uncover. As the girls approached puberty, Antoinette died of breast cancer; Madeleine made a bid to marry her sister's widower; and Th‚rŠse and L‚onie learned that a Jewish family hidden by the Martins during the war were betrayed by one of the villagers and murdered in the nearby forest. The Catholic cousins' reaction to this horrifying news was to witness the miraculous appearance of the Virgin Mary on the very spot where the Jews were killed. Soon, spiritually ambitious Th‚rŠse learned to use her visions to secure herself a place in a convent, while L‚onie gave up on spiritualism altogether and threw herself into a life of sensuality. The final discovery--that Antoinette may have been impregnated by the man who betrayed the Jews, and that the cousins may actually be the twin offsprings of that act--separated Th‚rŠse and L‚onie for 20 years- -until the burden of their secret brings Th‚rŠse home to complete their story. Breathless and sinister but frustratingly opaque: the power of Roberts's novel lies in what remains unsaid. -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


A brave and richly imagined novel, full of thrilling set pieces. The new prestige it seems likely to earn for one of our best writers is long overdue.—GUARDIAN

Subtle and persuasive—COSMOPOLITAN

Remarkable and beautifully written—INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY

An intense piece of writing, in which the transfigured mundane world of recipes, parental prohibitions and almost ritualised gossip is posed against official purity and religiosity, and shown to be superior.—TLS

About the Author

Michele Roberts is the author of eleven highly-acclaimed novels as well as short stories and poetry, most recently collected in All the Selves I Was. Half-English and half-French, she lives in London and Mayenne, France.
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