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Brixton Beach by Roma Tearne
  

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Featured on The TV Book Club on More4 on 28 February 2010.

Beginning with the July 2005 London bombings this fascinating and enthralling novel draws you in from the start. In the midst of the panic unravelling in London as a young doctor searches frantically for someone we are transported back to Sri Lanka some 30 years ago to where the story really begins. A beautifully written and eloquently told story of love, family and war.

If you like Roma Tearne you might also like to read books by Janice Y K Lee, Margaret Forster and Andrea Levy.

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Synopsis

Brixton Beach by Roma Tearne

Opening dramatically with the horrors of the 2005 London bombings, this is the profoundly moving story of a country on the brink of civil war and a child's struggle to come to terms with loss. London. On a bright July morning a series of bombs brings the capital to a halt. Simon Swann, a medic from one of the large teaching hospitals, is searching frantically amongst the chaos and the rubble. All around police sirens and ambulances are screaming but Simon does not hear. He is out of breath because he has been running, and he is distraught. But who is he looking for? To find out we have first to go back thirty years to a small island in the Indian Ocean where a little girl named Alice Fonseka is learning to ride a bicycle on the beach. The island is Sri Lanka, and its community is on the brink of civil war. Alice's life is about to change forever. Soon she will have to leave for England, abandoning her beloved grandfather, and accompanied by her mother Sita, a woman broken by a series of terrible events. In London, Alice grows into womanhood. Trapped in a loveless marriage, she has a son. Slowly she fulfils her grandfather's prophecy and becomes an artist. Eventually she finds true love. But London in the twenty-first century is a mass of migration and suspicion. The war on terror has begun and everyone, even Simon Swann, middle class, rational, medic that he is, will be caught up in this war in the most unexpected and terrible way.

Reviews

'Prose so lush it appeals to every sense, the pages are suffused with the scents and tastes, ring with the sounds of Sri Lanka and South London!Roma Tearne is an exquisite writer and captivating storyteller, such that the reader is endlessly torn between the desire to linger and the urge to turn the page to see where she will take us next.' Aminatta Forna

'[A] richly characterised, elegantly modulated and deeply moving novel.'
Michael Arditti, Daily Mail

'An ambitious, lyrical novel, distinguished by its refusal to offer false consolation.' TLS

'Tearne is a vividly sensitive writer who spares her readers unnecessary sentiment and hones in on raw emotions just below the surface. The refugee in all of us can recognise the desperate desire to belong and the sometimes terrible price we pay for it.' Julie Wheelwright, Independent

'The most moving novels of war speak of the battles fought within individual human hearts; causes and geographies are their backdrop. A timely lament for the dead and displaced of the Sri Lankan civil war, Roma Tearne's third novel, Brixton Beach, follows four generations of a family doomed to be estranged not only from their land, but also from love.' Chris Cleave, Financial Times

'Rich and satisfying, and written with a painter's instinct for the beautiful.' Kate Saunders, The Times

About the Author

Roma Tearne

Roma Tearne is a Sri Lankan born novelist and film maker living in the UK. She left Sri Lanka with her family, at the start of the civil unrest during the 1960s. She trained as a painter & filmmaker at the Ruskin School of Fine Art, Oxford and then was Leverhulme artist in residence at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford. Subsequently she was awarded an AHRC Fellowship and worked for three years in museums around Europe on a project accessing narrative within the collections.

She has written six novels. Her fifth, The Road To Urbino was published by Little Brown in June 2012 to coincide with the premier of her film of that name at the National Gallery in London. She has been short-listed for the Costa, the Kirimaya & LA Times book prize and long-listed for the Orange Prize in 2011 and, in 2012, the Asian Man Booker. Her sixth novel, The Last Pier, will be out in April 2015 from Hesperus Press.

Author photo © Alistair Tearne

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Book Info

Publication date

7th January 2010

Author

Roma Tearne

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Author's Website

www.romatearne.com/

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Publisher

HarperPress an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers

Format

Paperback
432 pages

Categories

Literary Fiction
Family Drama
Reading Groups
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Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)

ISBN

9780007301560

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