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The Facts of Life: A Novel Hardcover – Deckle Edge, Jun 17 2003


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Atria Books; First Printing edition (June 17 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743463420
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743463423
  • Product Dimensions: 24.2 x 16.8 x 2.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 531 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,896,259 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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If she's not here, thinks Cassie, if she's not coming. Read the first page
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By A Customer on July 12 2004
Format: Paperback
Graham Joyce just keeps getting better. This novel is beautifully written, flawlessly plotted, with very well drawn characters. It is quite funny in places, and it vividly evokes the bombing of Coventry and its aftermath. The elements of fantasy are woven seemlessly together with the more "realistic" elements. You really come to care about this family. In his earlier novels, Joyce's endings are sometimes disappointing, but that is not the case here - the ending is perfect.
Joyce's supernatural thrillers with exotic settings(such as Smoking Poppy, Indigo and Requiem)are among the best of their kind, but he is even better at coming of age stories set in working class Britain, such as The Tooth Fairy and this book. The Facts of Life reminded me more of magic realists Gabriel Garcia Marquez or Isabelle Allende than it did of "genre" fantasy or horror.
I can't think of any contemporary novelists whose work I enjoy more than Joyce. I can't wait for the next one.
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Format: Hardcover
Everyone who lived through the War still feels its effects though Hitler and the Nazi machine have been dead for a few years. In Coventry, Mrs. Martha Vine is the hub of eight spoke-families consisting of seven daughters, several grandchildren, and a reticent spouse. Martha is a brilliant tactician running her field officers (her daughters) better than any Five Star general could lead. She also has a gift of being able to foretell what will happen. Of her seven children, Cassie inherited the forecasting skill and so has her daughter's illegitimate Anglo-American son Frank too.
Though her siblings think Cassie is mentally unhinged and at times have her committed, they also rotate who takes her and especially Frank, based on General Martha's orders that no one disobeys. Thus, the wandering Frank grows up in a vast assortment of households that range the gamut of the 1950s so that he learns a great deal about the world around him through his not so stable aunts as the people of the Coventry area try differing means to recover and heal from the intensity of Hitler.
This is a deep look at the varying ways that the battered and tired people of Coventry recover from World War II. Through Frank's wanderings between his relatives, the audience obtains an incredible picture of the heart and soul of a bone weary England struggling to recuperate on individual levels. Though more a series of interrelated shorts as seen through Frank's observations than a novel, the theme of Graham Joyce's deep tale is that THE FACTS OF LIFE are humanity can face its darkest moment and its aftermath yet confidently start over.
Harriet Klausner
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Format: Hardcover
A friend insisted that I had to read this book since he had loved it so much. I also greatly enjoyed it, and I won't give a synopsis of the story, because you can read that elsewhere. The characters are so vivid and alive. There is Martha, the matriarch of the family, and her several daughters. Cassie, the youngest has an illegitimate son named Frank, whom she almost gave away when he was a baby. The story follows Frank's growing-up years near Coventry, England before and during WWII. Graham Joyce has a knack for vivid descriptions. The bombing of Coventry during the war is described in such detail, that I could feel the horror and also every tremor. There is a description of an undertaking parlor as seen through young Frank's eyes that is wonderful. Also, the ending is so extremely satisfying and unexpected. We find out who "The Man Behind the Glass" is, and I never guessed it at all. I would really recommend this book as a compelling read. This should become a classic.
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