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Learning To Swim

Learning To Swim

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It is a great examination of how the decisions we made, and the people we meet, in our teenage years can shape our future (and of how things don't always turn out as we expect). Self-conscious introvert Abigail grows up as an honourary member of her friend Frances' chaotic household, where she takes pleasure in the excitement and spontaneity missing from her own family life. Abigail thought she'd banished the ghost of her life with them and the catastrophe that ended it, but thirteen years later a chance encounter forces her to acknowledge that the spell is far from broken . In fact after I finished reading I was prompted to turn back to the beginning and examine the first 60 or so pages to make all the connections. Abigail thought she'd banished the ghost of her life with them and the catastrophe that ended it, but thirteen years later a chance encounter forces her to acknowledge that the spell is far from broken.

In dramatic contrast to her own conventional family, the Radleys were extraordinary, captivating creatures transplanted from a bohemian corner of North London to outer suburbia, and the young Abigail found herself drawn into their magic circle: the eccentric Frances, her new best friend; Frances' mother, the liberated, headstrong Lexi; and of course the brilliant, beautiful Rad. It’s about love, friendship, and different types of family dynamics and how people chose to hide their feelings or try to ignore them. Raised in a very conservative household, only child Abigail lives out a dull life with Mother and Father in suburbia filled with net curtains and clipped lawns. Abigail thought she had banished the ghost of her life with them and the catastrophe that ended it, but thirteen years later a chance encounter forces her to acknowledge that the spell is far from broken. A pointless tragedy and exile to Australia dealt with two of them, while the others managed happy endings.The focus really is on Abigail's shifting relationship to those around her, and though the plot was a little rushed towards the end it had a hopeful quality to it that I found quite endearing. Abigail, the narrator and heroine, was a subtly interesting and very sympathetic character, and the wild Radley family (bad artist father, bread-winning elegant mother with a lover on the side, brooding melancholic son and lively,fun-loving daughter) were brilliantly realized. In dramatic contrast to her own conventional family, the Radleys were extraordinary, captivating creatures transplanted from a bohemian corner of North London to out suburbia, and the young Abigail found herself drawn into their magic circle. It takes a special person with a special talent to so vividly and expertly relay the story in a first person narrative by the main character from their pre teen years into their thirties . Although set in the 70s and 80s, it doesn't hark back to the cultures of the time but you get a feel for simpler times and the joy of an innocent childhood.

I thought the author did a good job of portraying the teenage Abigail's limited understanding of what exactly was going on in the family of her friend Frances, and I enjoyed everyone's assertion that Lexi was 'the normal one'.Some of the data that are collected include the number of visitors, their source, and the pages they visit anonymously. Praise for Clare Chambers-'Modern, intelligently observed and highly original' Daily Mail'This delicious novel is a joy from beginning to end - a perfect novel' Lisa Jewell'Charming - A funny and moving story with a great deal of style' Sunday Telegraph'A spirited account of growing up and falling in love' Good Housekeeping'An intelligent and escapist read - well written, and very funny' Daily Express Abigail Jex never expected to see any of the Radley household again.

After leaving primary school, she meets Francis and her very different and family, thrusting her headfirst into a lifestyle she could only have imagined before.As an honorary member of the family she is privy to much of their daily life, but some of the intricacies are lost on her. Payments made using National Book Tokens are processed by National Book Tokens Ltd, and you can read their Terms and Conditions here. Just finishing up an inadvertent rereading of this after 20 or so years, and had no recollection of it at all until I reached a line on page 323 - “She wears so much face powder nowadays it’s a bit like kissing a bap” - and I remembered having to look up what a bap was and appreciating the tactile impact of that image.

Clare Chambers's writing reads so effortlessly, it's like you're reading something you wrote yourself, as she adds some thoughts about life that you'll probably identify with. Apart from that small quibble, I really enjoyed this warm and entertaining novel (which I have had on one of my bookcases for years) and found it worked particularly well as a satisfying and undemanding holiday read. While we get to glimpse this family from the outside, we also see into the life of Abigail and her family. She has since written eight further novels, including Learning to Swim (Century 1998) which won the Romantic Novelists’ Association best novel award and was adapted as a Radio 4 play, and In a Good Light (Century 2004) which was longlisted for the Whitbread best novel prize. Clare began her career as a secretary at the publisher André Deutsch, when Diana Athill was still at the helm.What a carefully constructed and powerfully balanced novel this is: at the end I was descending the same steps I had walked up at the start. I personaggi sono bizzarri e ci si affeziona velocemente, la storia molto originale e godibilissima.



  • Fruugo ID: 258392218-563234582
  • EAN: 764486781913
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