Winner of the 2003 World Fantasy Award Graham Joyce chronicles a haunting, war-torn terrain in this heartrending novel of one family's quest to begin again -- without forgetting the lives they left behind.
The Facts of Life
Set in Coventry, England, during and immediately after World War II, The Facts of Life revolves around the early years of Frank Arthur Vine, the illegitimate son of young, free-spirited Cassie and an American GI. Because Cassie is too unreliable and unstable to act as his proper guardian -- and is prone to "blue" periods in which she wanders off without warning or recollection -- Frank is brought up in the care of his strong-willed, stout-drinking grandmother, Martha Vine, who has, among other homemaking talents, the untoward ability to communicate with the dead.
So begins the first decade of Frank's life, one in which ghosts have a place at the table and divine order dictates the outcome of his days. Along the way there are brief stays with each of his six eccentric aunts, visits to the local mortuary, and voices inside of his own head that suggest that he, too, has the gift of supernatural intuition. An affecting tale of family and history, war and peace, love and madness, The Facts of Life will leave readers spellbound with its resounding expression of magic realism.
Isabel Allende [The Facts of Life] is the kind of book I love to read! It's an epic saga about family, love, war, and magic. Joyce's characters are memorable. They remind me of some of my own weird relatives. I have not been so charmed by a novel in a long time.
Alev Lytle Croutier author of Seven Houses and The Palace of Tears Reading The Facts of Life is like stepping into a fictional dream that has resonances, in turn, of Dickens, John Irving, Ian McEwan, Robertson Davies, and Paul Auster. What begins with a quiet pace suddenly sweeps one up in an eddy of quirks. The picaresque family novel brings an unexpected revelation at every corner, and what seems morbid and profane is transformed into beautiful and nearly divine What a delicious discovery!
Jonathan Lethem author of Motherless Brooklyn I won't bother saying Graham Joyce deserves to find a wide audience in America; rather I think the American audience deserves to find him.
The Guardian (UK) Graham Joyce creates families to break your heart...
Time Out, London Joyce is brilliant....[The Facts of Life] is a book about beginnings that are also continuities, and about ordinary lives stranger than casual inspection knows.
Booklist Joyce explores the shape and the texture of truth, walks the thin line between the religious and the sexual, and makes readers marvel at the power of the spirit and the psyche...as a haunting expression of magic realism, [he] evokes the work of Gabriel García Márquez.
Salon.com Joyce walks with the grace of a circus star, or a Henry James, on that narrow line between seeming and being.
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