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The Facts of Life

3.86  ·  Rating Details ·  868 Ratings  ·  87 Reviews
THE FACTS OF LIFE tells the story of an extraordinary family of seven sisters living in Coventry during the Second World War. Presided over by an indomitable matriach, the sisters live out a tangled and fraught life that takes them through the Blitz, war work and on into the hopeful postwar years, and a bizarre interlude for one of them in a commune. And through it all wan ...more
Paperback, 298 pages
Published November 4th 2004 by Phoenix (first published 2002)
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(showing 1-30)
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Sylvester
Sep 26, 2011 Sylvester rated it really liked it
Joyce made a glaring mistake, in my opinion - the title. It provides no clue whatsoever to the kind of book it is, and it's a real shame (speaking as one who has read many an inferior novel simply because the titles had magic - Joyce seems to have used up all his imagination on the novel itself and then got his accountant to name it). I like the quote from Isabel Allende on the cover,"I have not been so charmed by a novel in a long time." My sentiments exactly. I would call this book a kind of " ...more
Margaret
Set in war-torn Coventry, England, during and just after WWII, this is the story of the Vine family, through the focus of Frank, the illegitimate son of unstable, fey Cassie, who has periods of depression and sees odd visions, and the grandson of sensible, strong Martha, who can talk to the dead. Because Cassie isn't competent to take care of Frank, he is passed around among his grandmother and several aunts, all quirky in different ways.

The Facts of Life is subtly fantastic, full of ghosts and
...more
Margarida
Quando comecei a ler não sabia o que esperar... Não conhecia o autor, não tinha lido nenhuma critica ou comentário, apenas tinha lido a sinopse: a história de sete irmãs, passado nos tempos imediatamente a seguir à 2ª Guerra Mundial! E uma frase de Isabel Allende na capa do livro: Há muito tempo que um romance não me encantava a este ponto.. Como tinha lido quase toda a obra dela, confiei. E não me enganei!

Um dos melhores romances que li nos ultimos tempos. Uma história de família (com uma matr
...more
Nieves Batista
He disfrutado muchísimo de este libro. Tiene el punto exacto de realismo mágico y costumbrismo, sin que el primero desvirtúe al segundo.
Destacar, sobre todo, los inmensos personajes y las relaciones familiares. Reales, muy reales, sin que sean buenos, buenísimos, ni malos, malísimos. Personajes entrañables, con sus virtudes y defectos, dispuestos para lo que haga falta para sacar adelante a la familia.
Cel Kila
Jan 12, 2017 Cel Kila rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bibliothèque
1940, Bienvenue à Coventry, et plus particulièrement chez les Vine. Cette étrange famille composée d'une mère charismatique, Martha, et de ses 7 filles, fait front aux bombardements et à la reconstruction qui s'impose alors. Cassie, la plus fragile des soeurs, met au monde un enfant, Frank. Elle a déjà abandonné un bébé et ne peut se résoudre à en abandonner un deuxième, mais elle n'a en aucun cas les capacités pour élever son petit de manière sereine. Martha prend alors les choses en main : Si ...more
Ikebukuro
Feb 07, 2015 Ikebukuro rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
En lisant le résumé de ce livre j'ai tout de suite était intriguée par le sujet. Je n'ai pas voulu trop en savoir en allant à la pêche aux infos sur le web, je souhaitais vraiment être surprise par l'histoire d'autant que je n'avais jamais entendu parler de ce roman auparavant. J'ai tout de suite était accrochée par le récit, un mélange de chronique familiale avec de petites touches de fantastique qui prennent forme à travers le don de Franck, ce jeune garçon élevé par toute la famille Vine. Je ...more
Althea Ann
Nov 24, 2011 Althea Ann rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I would have liked this book more if I had read it before "The Limits of Enchantment."
It has most of the same elements: rural British life, a midwife whose traditional methods come into conflict with the National Health Service, an 'intellectual' commune where the reality fails to live up to the ideal, etc, etc.
I mean, it has so much of the Same Stuff that it's a little weird. I was trying to figure out if they were supposed to be connected in some way - but I don't think so.

This one adds in th
...more
Emma Valieu
Mar 31, 2016 Emma Valieu rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Aux fans de Tim Burton, Neil Gaiman
[4.5/5]

Coventry, petite ville tranquille d'Angleterre, se reconstruit doucement après les bombardements de la Seconde Guerre. Là-bas y vit une famille nombreuse composée de membres aux personnalités aussi colorées que différentes. Une famille qui gravite principalement autour de son caractère le plus farfelu, Cassie, la tête en l'air, mais pas seulement. Il lui arrive de faire des trucs bizarres. Mais personne ne lui reproche vraiment puisqu'elle tient ça de sa mère Martha, à un degré différent.
...more
Melanti
This is an odd, twisty-turny type of book - and I'm not sure that's a good thing in this case.

It starts out with a very Latin American magical realism feel, until it suddenly feels nothing at all like magical realism and feels entirely like Joyce's typical explicit sex-talk prose.

And then it'll be drifty and dreamy again for awhile until suddenly it's dealing with concrete, post-WWII real life issues. Then it's back to magical realism again until suddenly you're in a flashback to the Blitz and
...more
Roxane
I'll pass on the wonderful translation and how I find the French title even better than the original one (yes for once!). Lignes de Vie has something that also reminds you of palm reading and points right at the magic realism of the book (which is not quite obvious at first).

Coventry, at the end of WW2. Everyday life is somewhat upset for Martha and her seven daughters when her youngest, Cassie refuses to give up her baby boy, Frank for adoption. Cassie is unstable, often phased out, makes litt
...more
Steve
May 08, 2011 Steve rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I almost feel badly categorizing this as "fantasy," because it is far and away the lightest (or most normal, mainstream, or conventional) of the Graham Joyce books I've read. The fantastical elements are mere color or flavor, whereas the overall work is an appealing, well-crafted, moving, or even touching chronicle of a large, complicated family surviving and evolving during a difficult time (World War II and the aftermath, in Coventry, England).

What's funny is that I'd be less inclined to recom
...more
Davy
Jul 10, 2013 Davy rated it it was amazing
This is the fourth Graham Joyce novel I've read, and the fourth I've been sad to let go. His books are unassumingly perfect little things -- gentle, welcoming, and warm. Joyce has a knack for turning modest tales into proufoundly moving meditations on what it means to be alive, to be frightened, to be loved and in love, to be young or old or normal or extraordinary. His fantasies are never just about themselves -- they're about real things: growing up, raising children, coping with violence, bei ...more
Sashko  Liutyj
Jul 17, 2013 Sashko Liutyj rated it it was amazing
дуже майстерно написано: чверть книги - типова сімейна сага, реалізм аж зашкалює, але потім непомітно з'являється магія, дозовано,
так, що межа цього переходу - від реального до фантастичного - якщо не начисто витерта, то надзвичайно розмита, і в цьому величезний кайф для читача.
вражає дивовижне балансування між жанрами: тут і війна, і привиди, і психічні розлади, і фемінізм, і відверті сцени, і навіть розтини трупів.
здавалося б, з такої мішанини нічого доброго не мало би вийти, але Джойс так к
...more
Pamela
Mar 06, 2014 Pamela rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2014, magical-realism
One reviewer wrote that she thought Joyce made a mistake in the title and I couldn't agree more. But that was his only mistake, in my opinion. Having just read The Monuments Men, I decided to stick to World War 2 for my next book and picked this one. It took a few pages to get into the groove of the book, but to allow the magical realism to pick me up and carry me on it's meandering way. But as I got to know all the characters, I loved all of them. I wasn't sure about any of them at the beginnin ...more
Elizabeth Hunter
Nov 27, 2010 Elizabeth Hunter rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: uw, uncat
Calling this book "fantasy" is like calling The Time Traveller's Wife "science fiction". Absolutely true, but not what people usually mean by those words. The book this most reminded me of was The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. It is the story of a family who've survived World War II, beginning to move into the unknown future embodied in the new baby that seven sisters and an amazing mother share between them, their different homes and lives illustrating the forces of history at ...more
Kita
Aug 02, 2013 Kita rated it really liked it
So I had to knock off a point for the worst title ever. I can't even write this review without getting The Facts of Life theme song in my head. Clearly that show wasn't a big hit in England! But the book has nothing to do with that and is a beautiful story of a family in Coventry, England during WWII. The cover describes it as a "heartrending novel of one family's quest to begin again - without forgetting the lives they left behind"' in a "haunting, war-torn terrain." Fans of magical realism and ...more
Wufusk
Mar 29, 2009 Wufusk rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book, and wish that I could give it 3 1/2 stars. Though a tad slow at times, it grabbed my interest quickly and made me want to keep reading to find out what would happen next. I liked the way the supernatural fit along well with the ordinary, though I'm not sure now whether the dead can speak, hear, or both. (In chapter 14, they can speak to you, but not hear. In chapter 22, they can hear you but "can't get their words out." And in chapter 37, they can both hear and speak.) I was ...more
Smarty79
Apr 21, 2014 Smarty79 rated it really liked it
Very nice one. Pure British kitchen-sink story with a lot of amazing female characters and a bit of magic. Some well organized humor structure are detected, although overall impression is closer to something more serious.
Noah Klug
Feb 08, 2014 Noah Klug rated it it was amazing
This is one of the most amazing books I've ever read. Graham Joyce is an extremely gifted and skilled writer and I am a huge fan.
Loraine
Oct 02, 2012 Loraine rated it it was amazing
I checked out The Facts Of Life six months ago, for the first go-round at reading it. Whatever was going on in my life, whatever the books I was reading at the time, I didn't get hooked. But my oh my, this time around, once engaged with Joyce's way of introducing the Vine family and their lives to the reader, I couldn't put the book down. The extraordinary lives of these ordinary people, and by that I mean every day working class folks, are rich and spiritual, wild and conservative, pinched and ...more
Althéa
Aug 15, 2013 Althéa rated it it was ok
Il n'aurait pas fallu que ça soit plus long, car je n'y aurais pas survécu, j'aurais décrépi dans mon ennui.
Sur le papier, il y a tous les éléments pour faire une histoire intéressante, et surtout, prenante. L'Angleterre de l'après guerre, une famille unie par son nombre, d'abord, mais aussi par le don étrange qui relie la mère à la plus jeune de ses filles, et le filet de protection silencieux mais toujours plus fort autour de cette demoiselle un peu fragile mentalement, qui s'avère être une v
...more
Patrícia
Jul 03, 2011 Patrícia rated it liked it
Shelves: emprestado, romance
Uma história familiar (no feminino) que começa com a quase entrega de uma criança nas escadas de uma catedral.
Cassie tem momentos em que está com a “melancolia”. Seja isso um eufemismo para esquizofrenia ou qualquer outra doença mental, a verdade é que é opinião mais ou menos unânime que ela não tem capacidade para cuidar daquela criança. Mas Cassie, a quem não falta instinto maternal nem amor por aquele ser pequenino que dela saiu, não tem coragem de o entregar.
Assim, e por decisão familiar (a
...more
Joe
Mar 25, 2008 Joe rated it it was amazing
A glorious new classic in the genre of slightly ghost-tinged magical realism. A wonderful, large-personalitied family welcomes the newest babe in Frank, who is a typical young boy who just happens to have a mother who is slightly off, a wise grandmother, and a gaggle of uncles an aunts who all share in his raising at different points.

What impresses me about this book is the voices of each character coming through so clearly. I never felt that even one of the many characters that make up this fa
...more
Mayra
Jun 01, 2014 Mayra rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Arlene
May 22, 2013 Arlene rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Graham Joyce sets his tale in bomb-ravished Coventry, England. German bombers targeted the industrial city of Coventry many times during World War II, but most devastatingly on November 14, 1940 when bombs obliterated the heart of this city that lies at the heart of England. In Joyce's novel, this devastation sways social norms and jaggedly exposes previously hidden or dismissed facts of life. Death, sex, and transcendent intuition become part of the day-to-day.

The book features three strong mai
...more
Pandi
Jan 07, 2016 Pandi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Je ne savais pas trop à quoi m’attendre, j’ai tout entendu à propos de cet auteur. Mais maintenant je peux vous le dire avec assurance : Graham Joyce a totalement mérité tous les prix qu’il a reçu ! J’ai adoré de bout en bout, n’attendant qu’une chose pendant la journée : m’y replonger le soir venu :D

Il nous livre une histoire fantastique, dans une famille pas banale. Elle commence à la naissance du petit Frank, jusqu’au début de son adolescence ; mais ce n’est pas vraiment l’histoire de Frank.
...more
Marina
Dec 14, 2014 Marina rated it it was amazing
Не знаю, чем меня так зацепила книга. Не любитель семейных саг (это вообще семейной сагой можно назвать? Вроде это трактуется совсем не так, как в книге), не любитель описаний баталий, не любитель магического реализма. Ну вообще книга не моя. А, пожалуй, за этот года меня настолько вырывала из реальности только "Ложная слепота", хотя сравнивать эти книги что сравнивать сосны и мобильные телефоны - категорически разные плоскости.

Мать, 7 дочерей и внук. Единственный мальчик, получивший в наследств
...more
Nádia Batista
Aug 13, 2013 Nádia Batista rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Os Factos da Vida chamou-me à atenção principalmente pelo período em que a narrativa se desenrola. Fiquei também um pouco curiosa com a história, pois queria saber como é que no mínimo oito personagens se desenvolvem numa acção e se mantêm interessantes.

Quando comecei a ler, apercebi-me que o livro era muito mais do que o que eu esperava. Vamos sendo apresentados a esta família...

"Família esquisita de facto, a começar por Martha e os seus visitantes fantasmas. Depois Aida, a mais velha, casada
...more
Kevan Manwaring
Dec 03, 2014 Kevan Manwaring rated it it was amazing
This is a delightfully deceptive novel. On the surface it is a out a family of seven sisters set against the backdrop of the Coventry Blitz, and the immediate Post-War Years. A vintage photograph adorns the cover, and the title itself suggests a no-nonsense summing up of the realities of life. Even the blurb doesn't really give away the true nature of the novel – but peel back the layers of the beautifully-crafted, but unfussy prose and a tale of Second Sight and supernatural legacy is revealed. ...more
Beverly
Mar 31, 2013 Beverly rated it it was ok
For all my love of Graham Joyce, I can't go above 2 stars for this. It lacks the suspense and dark fantasy of his other novels, having only a light fantasy element used intermittently. It is set in the English midland town of Coventry during and after World War II. One thing I liked about this book was the historic and geographic setting. Coventry was where Lady Godiva made her famous ride, and, an historic jewel box, it was the most destroyed city in England. Despite the excitement of the war a ...more
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Endicott Mythic F...: This topic has been closed to new comments. The Facts of Life - who's reading / discussion 24 15 Nov 02, 2014 10:10AM  
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Graham Joyce (22 October 1954 – 9 September 2014) was an English writer of speculative fiction and the recipient of numerous awards for both his novels and short stories.

After receiving a B.Ed. from Bishop Lonsdale College in 1977 and a M.A. from the University of Leicester in 1980. Joyce worked as a youth officer for the National Association of Youth Clubs until 1988. He subsequently quit his po
...more
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“Wir, die wir einst herrlich waren. Wir fallen immer noch aus den Wolken.
Мы, которые были когда-то великолепные. Мы все еще далеки от облаков.
(«Правда жизни», Грэм Джойс)”
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