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The Undertow Paperback – Dec 11 2012


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (Dec 11 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780307946942
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307946942
  • ASIN: 0307946940
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 2 x 20.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 259 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #310,061 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

“Gripping. . . . Emotionally powerful. . . . Baker is skilled at evoking not only the distinctive social circumstances of the settings but the essential nature of each character. . . . You can’t walk away from her book.” 
The New York Times Book Review

“Jo Baker is a novelist with a gift for intimate and atmospheric storytelling. . . . [She] skillfully delineates the currents of social change and the essential human drama that persists. . . . The result is an agile, keenly observed novel that evokes the minuscule rewards and disappointments of the everyday.”
The Financial Times

“Engaging . . . . The Hastings family must fend off adversity of all kinds and from every side. Their challenges—so movingly detailed here—provide a profound sense of the whole tumultuous century.” —The Washington Post

“A poignant, emotionally intense read that illuminates the legacies of love and loss for ordinary people.” 
Marie Claire

“Moving but never sentimental. . . . The Undertow has a quiet, cumulative power; you read it not quite realizing how it’s burrowing under your skin.”
The Seattle Times

“Intricate, sensitive. . . . What is the legacy of four generations of loss? For Americans without a direct link to the current conflicts overseas or who get their war news from TV and Twitter, the question can seem like a distant concept. . . . However, this tightly crafted English novel, tracing a family from World War I to Iraq, brings it to life.”
—Oprah.com (Book of the Week)

“Some writers let you know you’re in safe hands from the start, and Jo Baker is one of them. . . . This drama-rich saga unfolds as a series of intimate family portraits. . . . There are gripping set-pieces, from childbirth to battlefield, all related in cut-glass prose and embedded with telling period detail.”
The Independent 

“Emotionally charged. . . . Baker’s saga about four generations of the British Hastings family, beginning with a young William sailing off to WWI, explores the effects of war, poverty, dreams, and the difficulties of love.”
Publishers Weekly

“Richly evocative . . . Its fast-flowing style, sparky dialogue and lean narrative hops through decades, taking in wars, deaths, births, hardships and dark family secrets. . . . Well crafted and highly readable, [The Undertow] places Baker at the top end of the list of emerging British literary talent.”
Time Out London 

“Deeply affecting. . . . A sweeping drama with real emotional depth.”
Daily Mail 

“An exceptional 20th-century saga. . . . A four-generational span of extraordinary history and ordinary lives, eloquent about the unshared interior worlds of individuals even when connected by the closest of bonds. . . . This searchingly observant work captures a huge terrain of personal aspiration against a shifting historical and social background. Impressive.” 
Kirkus Reviews (starred) 

“The Undertow, so deeply and richly imagined, is one of those books that make you forget to turn off the bedside light. I found myself thinking, just one more page, and then, just one more chapter. If what you love is a larger-than-life story with epic dimensions that pulls you in and won’t let you go, this is your book.” 
—Kim Barnes, author of In the Kingdom of Men

About the Author

JO BAKER was born in Lancashire and educated at Oxford University and Queen’s University Belfast. The Undertow is her first publication in the United States. She is the author of three previous novels published in the United Kingdom: Offcomer, The Mermaid’s Child, and The Telling. She lives in Lancaster.

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Most helpful customer reviews

By rusty on Jan. 22 2015
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Mostly I liked this story of a family stretching from Galipoli to a bus bombing in 2005 in London.
My problem with it was I didn't always understand what happened. One character comes up several times but for no real purpose. All in all a pleasant read
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 12 reviews
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Scenes from a family saga Feb. 6 2013
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I enjoyed this book, perhaps because I'm British but live in the US, and perhaps because I'm interested in the wars that shaped the last century. The structure is interesting, though the short extracts from the lives of four generations of a British family where all the protagonists are called a version of William made me feel that perhaps I wanted a four book saga. The writer pulls no punches in writing about war and its effect on Britain's ordinary families, and for that I give her credit. For some reason I found the book overall a bit unsatisfying.
19 of 24 people found the following review helpful
Does not live up to its publicity June 3 2012
By M. Coleman - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
After reading two favorable reviews, I eagerly ordered the Kindle version of The Undertow. I found the characters unappealing and uninteresting and their circumstances sordid. It was not until the final generation that I found a sympathetic individual. I was greatly disappointed as I had expected a truly compelling family saga.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Depressing story Dec 23 2013
By Natalie McMurdy - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I know, it was pretty true to life, but I was not entertained. I had to push myself to finish the book. I could have put it down and not finished it, but I hate to do that. I was hoping there was a happy ending. I guess you could say that Billie was happy by the end of the book. Would not recommend this story to my friends.
Terrific book Jan. 24 2014
By linda Kislingbury - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Want to read more by this author. Loved Longbourn too. Both should be movies. I think Longbourn is already being made.
Interesting, but seems rushed Jan. 1 2014
By Cat People - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is essentially a family saga, but for that format, the book is plain too short. Several of the characters are fascinating, but not enough time was spent telling their stories. I do hope that whatever editor might have suggested shortening this book will allow the author freer reign next time a similar manuscript is submitted. "People won't buy it if they can't lift it" is no longer a valid argument in the era of the e-reader. We want to savor the full meal, not have the waiter hovering to take the plates away.


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