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The Son of a Certain Woman Hardcover – Deckle Edge, Sep 17 2013


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf Canada (Sept. 17 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345807898
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345807892
  • Product Dimensions: 23.2 x 16.4 x 4.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 699 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #45,687 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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3.6 out of 5 stars
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By D. Dean on Oct. 9 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This was the second of Wayne Johnston's novels I've read - the first (some years ago) was 'The Navigator of New York' which I remember plodding through and finding rather dull, so it often surprises me when I read that Johnston is known for his humour and satire. 'The Son of a Certain Woman' couldn't have been more different to that other book (or at least my memory of it) and for the first 100 pages or so I loved it - so big-hearted and genuinely funny. But its central concept of the disfigured son who lusts after his beautiful mother for me eventually became the novel's undoing and I found the last couple of hundred pages not only increasingly disturbing, but also disappointing as the novel never really goes anywhere, and the final scene where Percy's thoughts of his mother during his baptism bring on a state of “religious” ecstasy? Preposterous, and if it had occurred earlier in the book I may have abandoned it. “Here comes Percy Joyce” indeed…

Whilst reading this I kept thinking of one of my favourite novels of a couple of years ago: Anne Peile’s ‘Repeat it Today with Tears’ which dealt with a girl tracking down her absent father and deliberately beginning an affair with him – that too could have been sensationalist and tawdry but Peile handled it with such sensitivity and made the characters so believable that as a reader I ended up almost rooting for them. Mother/son incest is a different kettle of fish altogether though, and by treating it as comedy Johnston doesn’t even attempt to try and challenge the reader’s preconceptions – he (or Percy) tries to convince us about Percy’s lust several times, but I felt like he was almost trying to convince himself too and I just couldn’t buy into it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By mbwoolridge Betty Woolridge on April 2 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I have read Wayne Johnston novel before this one is different maybe that is why I did not like it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Harvey King on Dec 26 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I was disappointed in the book as I do not feel that it is up to the standard he set with his previous books.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Joe Reader on Dec 17 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Originally I thought the subject matter a bit strange, but as I got into the book, i was caught up in it and could hardly put it down to go to sleep. The bizarre home situation coupled with the school/church involvement intrigued me, and from the first 100 pages onward the theme started to make sense to me.
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