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The Hungry Ghosts by Anne Berry
  

The Hungry Ghosts

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Longlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize 2010.

The Desmond Elliott Prize is an annual award for a first novel written in English and published in the UK. Worth £10,000 to the winner, the prize is named after the literary agent and publisher, Desmond Elliott. Click here to find out more.

A superb novel from a great new talent. The story unfolds told from the different perspectives of each family member and from Alice’s “Ghost”. Unloved by her mother and at a disadvantage in the family from the start Alice’s ‘possession’ leads to more and more turmoil and tragedy, with Alice herself not truly understanding what is happening to her. Each character is fascinating and the descriptions of Hong Kong and the family’s life there are vivid. This is a wonderful book and highly recommended.

Click the screen below to watch a video of Anne Berry discussing The Hungry Ghosts.

If you like Anne Berry you might also like to read books by Jeanette Winterson, Louise Douglas and Rose Tremain.

Synopsis

The Hungry Ghosts by Anne Berry

A novel for those who loved Behind the Scenes at the Museum, The Poisonwood Bible and The Lovely Bones. Raped then murdered in Japanese-occupied Hong Kong in 1942, Lin Shui's 'Hungry Ghost' clings tenaciously to life. Holing up in a hospital morgue, which is destined to become a school, just in time she finds a host off whom to feed. It is twelve-year-old Alice Safford, the deeply-troubled daughter of a leading figure in government. The parasitic ghost follows her to her home on the Peak. There, the lethal mix of the two, embroiled in the family's web of dark secrets and desperate lies, unleashes chaos. All this unfolds against a background of colonial unrest, riots, extremes of weather and the countdown to the return of the colony to China. As successive tragedies engulf Alice, her ghostly entourage swells alarmingly. She flees to England, then France, in a bid to escape the past, only to find her portable 'Hungry Ghosts' have accompanied her. It seems the peace she longs for is to prove far more elusive that she could ever have imagined. 'The Hungry Ghosts' is a remarkable tour de force of the imagination, full of instantly memorable characters whose lives intermesh and boil over in a cauldron of domestic mayhem, unleashing unworldly spirits into the troubled air.

Reviews

' [A] stunning debut. A schoolgirl in Hong Kong is haunted by the ghost of a murdered Chinese girl in this story of broken family, and its hidden secrets and lies.'
Woman and Home A stunning debut

!Epic in scope and voice!so skilfully crafted, and the writing so elegant, it's hard to believe it is a first novel. The Globe and Mail '[A] brilliant, brittle portrayal of colonial Hong Kong and vividly cruel series of first-person narratives
Psychologies

'The vivid, sensory depictions of Hong Kong circa 1970 ignite this almost unrelentingly sad story, and Berry's easy way of switching between different narrative voices from chapter to chapter is impressive.'
The List

About the Author

Anne Berry

Anne Berry was born in London in 1956, then spent much of her infancy in Aden, before moving on to Hong Kong at the age of six, where she was educated, first at Little Peak School, then Big Peak School, finally at the Island School, where she completed her A levels. She worked for a short period as a journalist for the South China Morning Post, before returning to Britain. After completing a three-year acting course at the Guildford School of Acting, and attaining LAMDA diplomas with honours in acting, teaching and speech therapy, she embarked on a career in theatre. She played pantomime to Shakespeare, and everything in between, shuttling around regional theatres. Most memorable were seasons spent at Theatre Clwyd Wales, Theatre Royal Windsor and Regents Park Open Air Theatre.

Waylaid by love and marriage, Anne and her husband settled in Surrey with their four children. In 1992 they moved to their present home in the village of Bookham. Here Anne founded a small drama school, running it for over ten years. Throughout this period she wrote over thirty plays, performed by the pupils of the school.

Anne's first love is writing, and it is now her full-time occupation. She remembers loving nothing so well as being given an imaginative composition for English homework at Peak School in Hong Kong. Coming a close second is theatre, with an unbridled passion for Shakespeare. She is an art lover, with Vermeer and Caravaggio being particular favourites. Anne is also a keen swimmer and walker. She has had undiminished support from her family in her writing career.

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Book Info

Publication date

18th March 2010

Author

Anne Berry

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Publisher

Blue Door an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers

Format

Paperback
416 pages

Categories

Family Drama
All Shortlists and Winners
eBook Favourites
eBook Favourites

Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)

ISBN

9780007303380

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