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The Hiding Place

3.53  ·  Rating Details ·  1,190 Ratings  ·  121 Reviews
My father has stopped for now, although, like most of the other Maltese, he won't settle in the city— he can't escape the salt-scent of the docks.

Tiger Bay, Cardiff, 1948. Frank Gauci steps off the Callisto into the coldest winter ever, clutching a cardboard suitcase. It's all he has, until he finds a ruby ring, Joe Medora, and Mary.

When Frankie and his best friend Salvato

Published by Picador (first published 2000)
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Sian Lile-Pastore
We are discussing this book on Saturday for reading group, so my thoughts may change after chatting about it and I'll let you know.*

I read this in a couple of days and found it really readable and engaging enough that I wanted to keep reading it and finding out what had happened. I was drawn in by the style of the writing too, which in the main I enjoyed.

I wasn't a huge fan on the structure of the book - going back and forth in time - and found the second part of the book where the main charact
May 29, 2010 thewanderingjew rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an amazingly powerful novel about a struggling working class family in Cardiff, Wales. It begins in the early 60's and travels to the end of the nineties using the various horrifying revelations in the memory of Dolores, the youngest sibling in a family of six daughters, to move the tale forward.
Poverty, immorality, superstition, mental illness and illiteracy set the stage for abuse, neglect, dysfunction and deprivation that defies the imagination. Each successive memory is progressivel
May 10, 2016 Simon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm quite particular about family dramas, I either love them or loathe them with little I between. This however I adored. The tale of the childhood of sisters brought up by a pair of runaway parents (one from Malta one from the valleys) is a wonderful, evocative and occasionally emotionally wrought tale that looks at the lives of the working classes and how the memories of children can be so different from the truth. Family secrets and twists galore, stunning writing. Bingo.
Feb 03, 2010 Diane rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I couldn't decide whether to give this a three or a four star rating. I went with three stars, but it would be more accurate to say 3.5. Anyway, this is a very dark but well written book, and since I appreciate good writing, I enjoyed the book for that alone. The story reminded me of Angela's Ashes, but I liked it much more than I did that book.

The family in the story is very poor, and the mother can't cope with the horrible situation in which she finds herself with five daughters to care for an
May 29, 2008 Lisa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I started this months ago and put it down. My first reaction was that it is dark - it almost feels as if it is written in a minor key. The mostly third-person voice and limited dialogue create a moody, lonely context. All of which add up to my reaction that it is very well crafted - impressive that it can be so evocative ... but I don't like the feelings it evokes so I was hesitant to keep reading. As I persevere though I am realizing the voice of Dol (the only first-person narrative?) and the f ...more
I studied this as part of course at uni: we were covering "contemporary literature" which involved having the writers (who just so happen to teach at UEA) coming and talking to us about a novel of their own, and a novel by another author that inspired them, although Trezza Azzopardi chose not to do this.

Anyway, although I found Azzopardi herself very interesting, and engaged with many of her ideas and themes (such as memory, reconstructing the past etc), I really struggled to stay involved with
Jul 21, 2008 Holly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This drama did a remarkable job of describing the breakdown of a family. Everything rang true--the characters, their interactions with one another, and especially the casual cruelty and deep protectiveness among siblings.
May 16, 2009 ☮Karen rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Not an easy read due to the way the story is laid out and jumps around so much. Also a lot of characters to try to keep straight. By the ending, I was not at all sure what exactly had happened to the main character. Maybe I need to re-read portions of it, but don't really want to.
Feb 11, 2016 Patiki rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not the usual subject matter for a page-turner, but I didn't want to put the book down. Finished it after the kids went to bed, and I wanted to hug them.
Ron Charles
Dec 09, 2013 Ron Charles rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What an entrance. The first time anybody heard of Trezza Azzopardi, she was nominated for one of the world's most prestigious literary awards. Nestled among books by Kazuo Ishiguro and Margaret Atwood, there sat "The Hiding Place," a first novel by a recent graduate student, up for this year's Booker Prize. English bookstores scrambled to find copies. Readers in the US were locked out while publishers bid on the domestic rights. Gratefully, Atlantic Monthly Press, the most discerning publisher o ...more
Jul 10, 2013 Christina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's hard to believe that this astonishingly accomplished lyrical account of loss upon loss -- "Children burnt and children bartered: someone must be to blame" -- is a first novel. Against a drizzly backdrop of Cardiff docklands in the process of demolition, Dolores Gauci, the sixth girl born to a brutal, ne'er-do-well Maltese father and a neglectful, adulterous Welsh mother, untangles skeins of memory, story, and speculation to try to find the threads that tie together her burnt left hand, her ...more
May 12, 2012 Joana rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The plot had potential but the writing style made it painfully slow, often boring and in the end confusing. This is the story of a family set in the background of Maltese immigrants in Cardiff. Not actually knowing that background myself, many of the settings reminded me of the Godfather or the Sopranos. The parents Frankie and Mary go through some hard times and aren't very successful taking care of their six girls and so it's often the community that has to do it for them. While I liked some o ...more
Samantha Allen
God this book was sad. I almost lost it reading the final scene on the bus. I'm pretty sure the guy next to me was a bit worried about all the sniffling and eye-dabbing and the way I kept my gaze fixed pointedly out the window.

The structure of this book was sort of weird and is something I think I need to contemplate a bit more. It's all in present tense, which also feels strange, because the story is made up primarily of Dol's memories, which don't seem like memories but more like immediate ev
Jayne Charles
Reading this I felt throughout that the author was writing from the subconscious rather than the thesaurus. It was like connecting with someone’s abstract thoughts at a very high level. I could not fault the writing, or the underlying meaning with which every word seemed loaded. My enjoyment of the writing was tempered, though, by the fact that I often had no idea what was going on. The story is strikingly similar to ‘The Gathering’ by Anne Enright (a book that left me similarly perplexed). A fa ...more
Dec 21, 2011 02emilyn rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The main issue this book addresses is that the girl's father takes all the money and leaves. Another big thing is that her mother gets sick and dies. Almost all her sisters leave home for some reason, so she and Rose are left alone. Eventually they end up leaving

If it wasn't in the time and place it was in the book wouldn't be as freaky. If it were in our day and age, it wouldn't be too bad at all. The place is a poor place, if they had more money it'd be easier.

The protagonist is Dolores. She
Sep 16, 2009 Marci rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult-fiction
Trezza Azzopardi was nominated for the prestigious international Booker award for her first novel: The Hiding Place. Set in a 1960s immigrant enclave in Cardiff, Wales, The Hiding Place is told from the point of view of the youngest daughter in a Maltese family, Dol, short for Dolores. The family is brutalized by their boorish, selfish father,Frankie, a man who never wanted Dol, nor really any of his six daughters who, in Frankie's mind, surely should have been sons if they were to be of any val ...more
Dec 16, 2013 Telans rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Уэллс 60х в мозаике воспоминаний и открытий младшей из 6 дочерей мальтийских мигрантов. Каждый новый эпизод хуже предыдущего и выстраивающаяся убогая картина бедного уголка Кардиффа, где процветает насилие, азартные игры, суеверия и невежество, безнравственность и все тяжкие, достаточно угнетающа и вопиюще достоверна. В мире все еще полным-полно подобного и на вопрос *Кого винить?* все так же сложно (если не невозможно ответить).
*Убежище* состоит из двух частей - первая, большая, это путанный ра
Mar 24, 2013 Nicola rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've wanted to read this book for ages not just because it got good reviews and was shortlisted for the Booker prize in 2000, but because I'm Maltese so it follows that I'm very interested in anyone of Maltese descent who is a successful writer.

I had read some excellent reviews of this when it first came out so I had very high expectations. I did enjoy the sensuous use of language and the author's talent for evoking the sense of place and time, but I nevertheless had a few rather childish issues
Dec 28, 2011 Erika rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Hiding Place is divided into two parts; part one takes place when Dol is a child between ages 0 and about 4, while part two takes place when Dol is an adult coming back to her hometown to reunite with her sisters for the first time is several years for her mother's funeral. It's written in a very confusing style. Several of the sentences are fragments, the spoken words are not in quotations, and sometimes I am unaware of who is speaking each line. However, if you can get past the book stru ...more
Aug 15, 2016 Petra rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
In de schuilplaats neemt Azzopardi de lezer mee in het leven van een gezin, toevallig een immigrantenfamilie wat voor mij geen onderdeel is van het verhaal, wat veel ellende op haar pad zal tegenkomen. 6 dochters, terwijl vader zo graag een jongen had gehad. Langzaam verdwijnen mensen en stapelt het ongeluk zich op. Vader houdt van gokken, moeder is niet gelukkig. Een climax op wat de mooiste dag had moeten zijn breekt de familie op.

Het verhaal wordt beschreven vanuit de jongste dochter, die als
Jan 08, 2012 Losososdiane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Beautifully written tale of what poverty and ignorance can do to a family. The author evokes vivid images of a life that is not safe because those things that bring feelings of caring and love swiftly and suddenly turn into nightmares of pain and danger, both emotional and physical. The story is difficult to follow because it is fragmented and comes from the perspective of the youngest child. As a reader, you just have to hold on and read on with the confidence that the author will bring all of ...more
A deeply moving story about a dysfunctional family and how each of them deals with it in their own unique way.

Set in the 1960's in Wales, Frank Gauci is a perpetual gambler, gambling away not only the money hidden away for rent and groceries and family heirlooms, but the family itself. This situation leaves Mary, the mother, with very little options when the man comes at the end of the month for rent. Each one of the six girls deals with the situation in their own unique way, building stronger
Bridget Bailey
I was not sure what to expect with this book other than I figured it would probably be a sad story and I was absolutely right about that. It is a very depressing and gut wrenching story with very little redeeming qualities about it. The story is about a family with 6 daughters who all had something bad happen to them in one form or another and I don't mean they got grounded but instead burned, sold, sent to a mental institution or beaten. It was a hard book to read due to the style of writing an ...more
Nov 01, 2008 G rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've been making an effort to read each of the Booker Prize nominees for this year - this was the second I picked up.
Within the first ten pages I was greatly impressed by Azzopardi's use of language and the flow of her sentences. By page twenty I was enthralled by the characters and the narrative. By the time I finished "The Hiding Place" I was as moved as any novel I have ever been fortunate to lay my hands on.

This is a tremendous novel that I cannot say enough about. The story of Dol and the
Jan 02, 2010 Sandy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
this is a brutal and haunting book, narrated by the youngest child in a family of six girls. Her father is an obsessive gambler in the dark underworld of Cardiff, Wales in the 60's, 'selling' two of his daughters in exchange for debt-forgiveness and money. Her mother is a desperate woman struggling to get her family by while unable to leave the vile person who is her husband. Young Dolores' narration of this vicious, ruthless and heartless life is an absolute gem. Her tale is told in staccato bi ...more
I wanted to like this more than I did. I think my main problem with the story is I often had no idea what was going on. After finishing it, I'm still confused on a lot of the plot points and I think it has mostly to do with the way the author decided to style the writing. I don't really love novels without punctuation, I'm not opposed to them, and I can certainly grasp dialogue when I read it, but......I don't know, I just found myself too often confused, having to re-read to make sure I knew wh ...more
Jul 09, 2008 Sarah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow -this book was interesting. It was gripping to me in how real the characters were portrayed. I honestly feel like these people exist somewhere. The overall feel of these characters lives, the port town they live in, the choices the parents make (and the huge impact it has on the children), not to mention having the youngest tell the story - made it compelling to me. It was my transport to a different world. I only wish it had been a happier world. So, if you're looking for a pick-me-up, this ...more
Jan 25, 2008 Nancy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This is one of those well-written books about an abusive family in the 1960s in Cardiff (Wales, I think?) with an abusive, gambling dad, mentally ill mom, blah, blah, blah of the type that I'm just too jaded to get anything out of anymore. There's not a whole lot in the way of plot, more like little epiphanies and memories. Certainly individual scenes are nice, and the prose is very polished, but I never got invested enough to really care what was happening. I blame the scores of similarly theme ...more
Aug 19, 2012 Carol rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literary-fiction
This novel is told more or less from the point of view of Dolores, the youngest of six daughters born to a desperately poor Maltese family living in the slums of Tiger Bay section of Cardiff. Dolores' father Frankie is an often abusive gambler and her mother Mary tries to maintain the family but is often neglectful. The girls' relationships to each other as they grow up are complex, mingling cruelty with connection. The book is filled with things seen and experienced but only half understood and ...more
Tori Whitby
This is a hard book to wrap time-frame around, very jumpy and scattered. After about 25 pages I had to stop and read the reviews again just to grasp the bigger picture of the peticularly was helpful suggesting that the story is told in the point of view of the different sisters simutaneously. and at different ages all mixed up... sounds confussing try reading,,,maybe the second time is better on this one. reviews compared this book to angela's ashes: I don't agree, it was confusing an ...more
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Trezza Azzopardi is a British writer.

She was born in Cardiff to a Maltese father and a Welsh mother. She studied creative writing at the University of East Anglia, and currently works as a lecturer there. She also has an MA in Film and Television studies from the University of Derby.

Her first novel, The Hiding Place, was shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 2000 (a significant accomplishment, since
More about Trezza Azzopardi...

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