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2.15  ·  Rating Details  ·  72 Ratings  ·  22 Reviews
Janet grew up with her father; her mother, she was always told, died when she was three. But now she discovers she has inherited a house from her mother—who, she learns, died only recently. In a state of shock she travels north with the key, and finds an old stone cottage at the sea's edge.

Tom was raised by his mother, traveling from one place to another, his only stabilit
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published April 17th 2007 by W. W. Norton & Company (first published 2007)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 161)
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Aug 13, 2007 PMP rated it did not like it
This book must be the result of a massive favour owed to Wagner that the publisher just couldn't get out of. A lot of tripe spun around an incestuous affair that is neither shocking nor sexy.
Deborah Ideiosepius
Jun 16, 2011 Deborah Ideiosepius rated it did not like it
I started this one with high hopes, I was in the mood for something a bit 'lyrical and poetic' and at first it seemed to do well on this score: Two people with good initial character development, a here and now scene, a bit of the past, slow build-up ect.

However: A failing of mine as a reader (perhaps) is that I do not like it when characters behave stupidly with no explanation. Around page 60 or so the female character starts to behave in idiotic, incomprehensibly erratic ways that seem artific
Paulo F. Oliveira
Hm... I don't know where to start. Usually I don't like writing "reviews" when I have nothing good to say :-), but I'll open an exception. The cover said something like "not like anything else except Wuthering Heights". I though I was in for a treat... I was! But it was one of those sour chewing gums, with a very sour taste...

I mean, the story is somewhat coherent, but it wasn't catchy enough for me. I couldn't concentrate on the book, the characters are not well developed as far as I understood
Sep 18, 2010 Shelley rated it did not like it
Shelves: fiction, unfinished
Ended at page 106. I just couldn't get into this book. The characters seemed weren't interesting to me. The way the story jumped from person to person and back and forth in time didn't leave enough room for developing the characters. I am sure it all comes clear in the end, but I didn't care enough to stay and figure it all out. The author writes in an abstract way, with incomplete sentences conveying thoughts, and often the result was too vague to draw any conclusions. I wanted to know what was ...more
Ruby Soames
Feb 02, 2014 Ruby Soames rated it it was ok
It was an effort to read this and it felt like it might have been an effort to write it - with so many laboured images, adjectives, similes and long words...the writing obfuscated the story which just wasn't strong enough anyway. Just tries too hard and wasn't worth it.
Book Chatter-Cath
Jul 19, 2014 Book Chatter-Cath rated it did not like it
Shelves: dnf, reviewed, grrrr-wtf
ummmm, wow, bad :(
lots and lots of words and not really any story... it's boring, flat, unappealing and kinda depressing.
Sep 13, 2011 Kirsty rated it it was ok
I tried so hard to like this because it contains so many elements that interest me: fairytales, selkies, the personal mythology of childhood, brother-sister relationships, parental mysteries. But good lord, it was hard work. Every sentence was a chore, and though there were odd moments of beauty or relatable truth, it was so bogged down in wordiness and confusing narrative.
Malcolm Wilson
Aug 19, 2013 Malcolm Wilson rated it really liked it
Another author with whom I've shared a stage - and my admiration for her stretches from her acapella performance of a Northumbrian song to her reflections on the recent death of her father and - oh goodness me - the beautiful and powerful prose of this book. I loved the way that the story unwrapped itself and I loved its dark landscape. I want her to write more!
May 09, 2009 Sunflower rated it it was ok
The cover photo is the best part of this book. When I first started this I thought the writing was clever, surreal even, but after a while for me that made it just plain confusing. I found it hard to tell which thread of the story I was trying to follow, as it was (deliberately, I think)not made clear. Managed to finish it, but only just.
May 21, 2008 Deb added it
No stars... didn't even finish it. Someone pointed out later that the reviews on amazon were pretty bad also. This was one of those books that the jacket is much more enticing than the actual story. I gave up about half way through because of the writing style and the lack of consistency.
Donna Kirk
not my favorite style of writing. kind of jagged and poetic and surreal to the point where it steams off the page but you are never really sure if she is talking about being at a wedding or a hospital. the woman who turns into a seal is cool, though.
May 13, 2007 linnea rated it liked it
I liked this book, but there were some points that I would have liked to have seen differently. One of my favorites aspects of this book is the cover photograph. I know, i can jude a book by it cover...
Apr 20, 2011 Claire rated it did not like it
I'd quite like to rate this zero, but then you would think that I simply hadn't rated it. Urgh, rubbish. It's not even the kind of book worth writing a review for.
Aug 11, 2008 Ejiro rated it it was amazing
Quite disturbing but mesmerizing, the words leap on to your tongue to tantalize you with its innocent wickedness. it
Tamara Epps
Hard to read as there's nothing to keep you hooked except for a short section in the middle. Predictable and badly written.
Jan 14, 2010 Brenda rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 27, 2011 Rebecca rated it really liked it
Shelves: library-stack
well, my bookmark is ready and waiting inside the cover - does that count as currently reading?
Apr 10, 2011 Kelly rated it did not like it
Hated it. Finally just stopped reading it because I couldn't take anymore.
Jul 29, 2011 Alana rated it it was ok
Beautifully written, great narrative device, distasteful story.
Aug 19, 2008 Sherrie rated it did not like it
Shelves: read-in-2008
Ugh - had to force myself to finish this. Icky subject matter!!
Mar 15, 2008 Jewelz rated it did not like it
It is about seizures but i didn't like it!
Aug 21, 2008 Lindat16 rated it did not like it
Horrible book
Alex Gibbons
Nov 07, 2014 Alex Gibbons rated it it was ok
Jamie Cross
Jamie Cross marked it as to-read
May 06, 2016
Lisa marked it as to-read
May 04, 2016
Kyl added it
Apr 29, 2016
Heather marked it as to-read
Apr 26, 2016
Catherine rated it it was ok
Feb 19, 2016
Claudia Laborda
Claudia Laborda rated it did not like it
Jan 28, 2016
Alisha marked it as to-read
Feb 03, 2016
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Erica Wagner is an American author and critic living in London. She is former literary editor of The Times.

She is the author of several books, including a collection of short stories, Gravity, and Ariel’s Gift: Ted Hughes, Sylvia Plath and the Story of Birthday Letters, and the novel Seizure.

Her husband, Francis Gilbert, is author of I’m a Teacher, Get Me Out of Here!. She also reviews regularly
More about Erica Wagner...

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