Maxim Jakubowskis Selection rebus 30th anniversary twitter katie fforde shadow land elizabeth kostova
Vouchers


A Country Road, A Tree by Jo Baker
  

A Country Road, A Tree

Literary Fiction   All Shortlists and Winners   Historical Fiction   Literary Fiction   The Walter Scott Prize 2017   
Download an extract Discuss on Facebook Discuss this book on our Literary Contemporary Facebook group Add to wishlist Share this book

Lovereading view...

Shortlisted for the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction 2017.

An enthralling work of literary fiction exploring Samuel Beckett’s life in Occupied France.

It’s autumn, 1939 and a young writer has returned to Paris, and to Suzanne, his lover and anchor. “He didn’t have to come back. But here he is”, a “pale and wounded Irish man”, without the necessary papers, but ready to make an impact with his art, ready to do something of worth. Then Paris falls, his friend (James) Joyce departs, and soon “Paris isn’t Paris any more”. Associates are taken, Gestapo presence is ever more pervasive and, at huge risk, he joins the Resistance, while also questioning the value of a writer’s work.

Throughout, the writing possesses an effecting sparseness, from the early domestic scenes with the writer’s family, “all shiny buckled shoes and neat cardigans”, to the bleakness of Occupied France (the hunger, the acts of cruelty, the creeping fear and despair). This novel is both a profound portrayal of an artist’s inner life, and of his engagement with the ravaged world outside. It’s also a testament to a spirit of survival, to finding “decency amongst the ruins”. ~ Joanne Owen

The Walter Scott Prize Judges said:
‘We loved the quiet, lyrical, beauty of this novel and its skilful recreation of Samuel Beckett’s years in France throughout the Second World War. It’s illuminating about Beckett’s individual heroism and humanity. The descriptions of France under occupation are always surprising and moving as he (and Baker) chart the horror, despair, starvation and uncertainty of those years with a writer’s eye. Central to the narrative is Beckett’s love for Suzanne, the young French woman he eventually married. The strain of five years of war, their escape from Paris, their long walk to Roussillon and their repeated separations takes a heavy toll on their relationship. But through all of this their quiet love survives.’

If you like Jo Baker you might also like to read books by P. D. James, Katherine Webb and Fay Weldon.

Win tickets to the Borders Book Festival!

Borders Book Festival 2017 logo

We have 4 tickets (2 pairs) to give away to one lucky winner to attend two Walter Scott Prize events taking place at the Baillie Gifford Borders Book Festival on Saturday 17 June 2017. One pair of tickets is for a panel event with shortlisted authors, and the other is for the Prize event in which the winner is announced and presented. Click here to find out more about the Borders Book Festival.

Please note that this draw is open only for UK residents and is free to enter. Multiple entries from the same email address will only be counted once and the prize cannot be exchanged for cash and does not include transport or accommodation. Draw closes on 2 May 2017. The winner will be chosen randomly from all entrants and will be notified by 14 May 2017.

Enter prize draw Draw closes: 02/05/2017

Synopsis

A Country Road, A Tree by Jo Baker

Paris, 1939: The pavement rumbles with the footfall of Nazi soldiers marching along the Champs Elysees. A young writer, recently arrived from Ireland to make his mark, smokes one last cigarette with his lover before the city they know is torn apart. Soon, he will put is own life and those of his loved ones in mortal danger by joining the Resistance...Spies, artists, deprivation, danger and passion: this is a story of life at the edges of human experience, and of how one man came to translate it all into art.

Reviews

'Skilful ... daring ... an extraordinary story' The Guardian

'[It is] the unexpected Beckett that is on show here. Baker pays tribute to a man who joined the French Resistance, narrowly escaped the Gestapo, fled south on foot and went into hiding, and was eventually awarded the Croix de Guerre' The Times

'A fascinating fictional account of Samuel Beckett's wartime years' Ian Rankin

'Beautifully written, empathetic and unflinching, it is very, very good' Daily Mail

'vivid and well-wrought' Times Literary Supplement

About the Author

Jo Baker

Jo Baker was educated at Oxford and Queen's University, Belfast. She lives in Lancaster with her husband and their two children. She is the author of the bestselling Longbourn, which is due to be made into a film. Her latest novel is inspired by the life of Samuel Beckett.

Author photo © Ed Marshall, Time Out , Camera Press London

More books by this author
Author 'Like for Like' recommendations

Loading similar books...
Loading other formats...

Book Info

Publication date

9th February 2017

Author

Jo Baker

More books by Jo Baker
Author 'Like for Like'
    recommendations

Author's Website

www.jobakerwriter.com/

Author's Facebook Latest

Loading facebook updates...

Publisher

Black Swan an imprint of Transworld Publishers Ltd

Format

Paperback
400 pages

Categories

Literary Fiction
All Shortlists and Winners
Historical Fiction
Literary Fiction
The Walter Scott Prize 2017

Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)
Second World War fiction
Romance

ISBN

9780552779524

Lovereading always comes up with great suggestions and has introduced me to enjoyable books and new authors to discover.

Gaynor Passmore

As for why I'd recommend Lovereading, it's simple - it's a great place to get information and reviews about new books!

Margaret Freeman

Lovereading does a stella job in promoting both new and established authors.

Iris Clements

Why I love @lovereadinguk? It's in the name - as dedicated lovers of reading, they are perfect matchmakers for helping me find my next read!

Catherine Jenkins

Love Reading - it not only does what it says on the tin, it does it with Jam on!!

Maz Tucker

It's the first site that I visit when deciding on the next set of books to buy. A particular treat is being able to download an extract.

Tessa Olson

If you LOVE reading then you will love LOVEREADING! It's a 'novel' idea. Seriously though I could not recommend them enough.

Rebecca Whymark

I love 'try before you buy' extracts. I love the wide range of authors & genres. I love the author info. I love books!

Judi Davies

Lovereading4kids

Lovereading4schools