The Trouble with Goats and Sheep
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January 2017 Debut of the Month.
One of our Books of the Year 2016.
The title refers to a Bible quote and two 10-year old girls are greatly mystified as to its meaning and where to find God. They spend the hot summer of 1976 looking for answers. Set in a small town housing estate, the girls’ avenue is a close-knit community of busy bodies. They all know everyone else’s business, they all have secrets they are trying to hide. Beautifully told in multi first-person narratives and nipping in and out of several houses, many of these secrets are drip-fed to us. At its heart is the disappearance of Mrs Creasy from No 8 and the neighbours ostracising Walter Bishop from No 11 whose house mysteriously burnt in 1967. Then there was the “taking of a baby” in the same year. All these mysteries and more bounce round the houses in a charming tale of ordinary folk sweltering in the heat. I loved it. ~ Sarah Broadhurst
Shortlisted for the Books Are My Bag Fiction and Breakthrough Author Award 2016.
Longlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize 2016.
In addition to our expert opinion, a small number of our Lovereading reader review panel members were lucky enough to be invited to review this title. You can read the full reviews here.
- Zarina - 'This is a quiet read that packs a powerful punch behind each thoughtful sentence, creating an eloquent and thought-provoking novel, which will undoubtedly stir up many conversations in 2016.'
- Carolyn Huckfield - 'Life behind the curtains in a typical suburban avenue can throw up secrets and lies that affect neighbours and friends alike in this funny and sometimes moving story.'
- Angela O'Donovan - 'A wonderful, wonderful read. I was hooked from the first page and taken back to that long hot summer...'
- Manisha - 'I really enjoyed it and would say it is one of the best books that I have read this year. I couldn't put it down.'
- Ann Peet - ‘Delightful debut novel - a mysterious disappearance, an avenue of hidden secrets, two young girls finding out about the world of adults - terrific.’
- Linda Hill - ‘Perfect writing packed with emotion, this is going to be THE success of 2016. The Trouble with Goats and Sheep is a beautiful, comical, sad, and utterly, utterly wonderful tale of humanity. Joanna Cannon has touched my heart with her novel.’
- Anne Cater - ‘There are passages, sometimes just a line, that make the reader stop & re-read, purely to delight in the way that that the words are put together. This is an ambitious story, but also a beautiful one.’
- Sarah Harper - ‘With heart-warming humour and keen observation, this fantastic story will stay with you long after the last page.’
- Mary Chapman - ‘From page one I loved the book; it’s quirky, old fashioned, never boring, written beautifully and the voice of Grace very real and believable. I was totally engrossed with the story right to the end.’
- Marjorie Lacey - 'Joanna has written a charming book and given us an insight as to what goes on behind the closed doors. We felt despair, of them and their behaviour, frustrated by them but feeling sorry for them at the same time.'
- Gill Wilmott - 'The author has a wonderful turn of phrase, sometimes you stop and read a passage again just for the joy of the wording. I wanted it to just go on and on.'
- Cathy Small - 'It is quite a light hearted book with two girls trying to find out what happened to Mrs Creasy...as they ask around the hidden secrets start to reveal themselves showing vulnerability and the truth. '
- Kathy Howell - 'This is a really gentle, lovely read...I really enjoyed reading this book and would recommend it to others.'
- Rebecca Cockeram - 'An absolutely delightful book about friendship, secrets and lies...I couldn't have loved this more.'
- Claire Nethercoat - 'Sitting down and reading this book has been great. Each time I have picked it up I have been immersed to another time.'
- Janet Lambert - 'With the flavour of angel delight, pick and mix and custard creams and the sound of Hilda Ogden on TV in the background we are transported back in time watching the mystery of a missing woman unravel everybody's secrets.'
- Catherine Price - 'There are secrets and lies behind every door on The Avenue. And when Margaret Creasy disappears, every neighbour on the street sees it as a sign that their own murky past is about to be revealed...a wonderful debut novel.'
- Rachael Anderson - 'An unusual story set in 1970s suburbia...An excellent debut novel which I would heartedly recommend. There is an equal balance here of humour, sorrow and injustice to pull at a wide range of emotions.'
Win an exclusive Lovereading Canvas bag worth £9.99
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Please note that this draw is open only for UK residents and is free to enter. Draw closes on 28 February 2017. The winner will be chosen randomly from all entrants and will be notified by 14 March 2017.
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Here's what one of our members thinks of her bag
A big thank you for the two Lovereading bags I ordered, which have arrived safely. I love mine and will use it with pride. The bags are lovely quality, sturdy and support a good cause in the Rewrap initiative; I think they make the perfect accessory for any book lover. The second bag was a gift for my sister and she says she will take it to her next book group meeting to help spread the Lovereading word. Once again, many thanks. Emily Wright
The Trouble with Goats and Sheep by Joanna Cannon
England,1976. Mrs Creasy is missing and The Avenue is alive with whispers. As the summer shimmers endlessly on, ten-year-olds Grace and Tilly decide to take matters into their own hands. And as the cul-de-sac starts giving up its secrets, the amateur detectives will find much more than they imagined...
'A splendid debut ...Forensic period detail and pithy exchanges between characters give the novel the feel of a Seventies sitcom ...a wonderful achievement'
'Cannon specialises, beautifully, in making concrete the abstract ... a superior debut'
'Vibrant and funny...imagine Donna Tartt's The Secret History, set in 1970s English suburbia'
'Successfully capturing the claustrophobia of suburban life... Cannon paints a sympathetic and nuanced portrait of society's misfits'
'Sweet, nostalgic and funny'
THE SUN ON SUNDAY
'Wry, acutely observant and brilliantly claustrophobic'
MAIL ON SUNDAY
'Fresh and vivid, this intriguing debut is a perceptive coming-of-age tale'
'A unique and unforgettable debut'
WALL STREET JOURNAL
'A very special book that makes us think about ourselves and others more deeply ... a terrific pageturner'
'An utter delight. Perceptive, funny, dark, moving. And so beautifully written. I loved it'
'A quirky, moving and beautifully written tale of suburban life in 1970s Britain, The Trouble with Goats and Sheep is a delight from start to finish'
About the Author
Publication date26th December 2016
More books by Joanna Cannon
Author 'Like for Like'
PublisherThe Borough Press an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
CategoriesModern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)
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