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Flora by Gail Godwin
  

Sarah Broadhurst's view...

A seemingly simple story that will creep up on you with its brilliance, Flora is narrated retrospectively by Helen, Flora’s young cousin and temporary ward who as a grown woman is looking back on a formative, dramatic summer when she was 10, at the end of World War II. Exquisitely written though its mystery could be far more dramatically paced it is a quiet masterpiece.

If you like Gail Godwin you might also like to read books by Kate Atkinson, Helen Dunmore and Ian McEwan.

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Synopsis

Flora by Gail Godwin

Ten-year-old Helen and her summer guardian, Flora, are isolated together in Helen's decaying family house while her father is doing secret war work in Oak Ridge during the final months of the Second World War. At three Helen lost her mother and the beloved grandmother who raised her has just died. A fiercely imaginative child, Helen is desperate to keep her house intact with all its ghosts and stories. Flora, her late mother's twenty-two-year old first cousin, who cries at the drop of a hat, is ardently determined to do her best for Helen. Their relationship and its fallout, played against a backdrop of a lost America will haunt Helen for the rest of her life. In this, Gail Godwin's fourteenth novel, she evokes shades of The Turn of the Screw as she explores the inequality of relationships between adults and children in a taut, subtle and moving tale of love, regret, and the things we can't undo.

Reviews

If it reminds me of any other novel it's actually Atonement, but, dare I say it, Flora is a sharper, clearer portrait of a life lived remorsefully - Observer

I've long thought of Gail Godwin as a present-day George Eliot - our keenest observer of lifelong, tragically unwitting decisions. Flora is also a novel as word-perfect and taut as an Alice Munro short story; like Munro, Godwin has flawlessly depicted the kind of fatalistic situation we can encounter in our youth - one that utterly robs us of our childhood and steers the course for our adult lives. This is a luminously written, heartbreaking book - John Irving

About the Author

Gail Godwin is a three-time National Book Award finalist and the bestselling author of thirteen critically acclaimed novels, including Violet Clay, Father Melancholy's Daughter, Evensong, The Good Husband and Evenings at Five. She is also the author of Heart and The Making of a Writer, her journal in two volumes. She has received a Guggenheim Fellowship, National Endowment for the Arts grants for both fiction and libretto writing, and the Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Gail Godwin lives in Woodstock, New York. Visit her website at www.gailgodwin.com

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Book Info

Publication date

3rd July 2014

Author

Gail Godwin

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Author's Website

www.gailgodwin.com/

Publisher

Bloomsbury Publishing PLC

Format

Paperback
288 pages

Categories

Literary Fiction
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Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)

ISBN

9781408840894

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