Peripheral Vision
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Peripheral Vision

3.41 of 5 stars 3.41  ·  rating details  ·  83 ratings  ·  23 reviews
A novel connecting disperate women at different times in their lives, and in history. Sylvia, a brilliant and successful eye surgeon is nevertheless amazed to find herself pregnant, despite taking no precautions. Iris, a timid young woman in love with a man from a different social stratum. And Ruby, a 1950's housewife who receives poison pen letters, which she believes she...more
Paperback, 348 pages
Published January 15th 2007 by Solidus
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Unfortunately the premise of linking women of today to those of 50 years ago didn't really work for me because there were too many stories, too many characters, and few actual links. I also found the way the author brought them all together in one paragraph right near the end very confusing and unsatisfactory with references to brothers, sisters, or siblings-in-law that I couldn't remember existing or being mentioned before. It took me ages to get into the book as there were so many new characte...more
I loved this book from the intricacy of the carefully crafted plot to the characters and references to the eye, i.e. Iris, the eye doctor, the loss of an eye. At times it was hard to follow...with several characters and two different time periods and the details painfully depressing. Still, I will look for more of Ferguson's books in the US. She has the notion of decriptions down as well as any author I've ever read.
Only ok - too many stories intertwining in a not very interesting way. Ironically, a bit short sighted.
Oct 24, 2009 Mary rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Mary by: NY Times Book Review
Shelves: fiction
What I like about novels is getting into people's heads,(and hearts, and lives.) This book does that quite well. There are a fair number of plot lines in this book, and I often had a hard time keeping them straight, but I began to think that that might have been deliberate: letting it all kind of wash over you. There is a prissy character; there are class differences; there is what seems to be a compulsive liar who is lovable; and as the book reviews tell you, they are all related somehow, which...more
Julie Hedlund
This book is much like a flower. As a shoot, it's pleasant enough. As it buds and then begins to bloom, however, it becomes much more complex and beautiful. All of the characters are interesting, and their lives intersect in a multitude of ways that do not become fully clear until the very end, which adds suspense to the literary pleasure.[return][return]My one complaint about the book is that it seemed to rush to its conclusions at the end, whereas it grew on you slowly, slowly in the beginning...more
Like most will tell you this book takes quite a while to unfold and surely by the time it picked up I was very much uninterested nor had I identified with the characters. I started the book months ago, could barely make it through it only to find myself stopping half way. Then nearly seven months later I forced myself to finish it. The ending was more intriguing than the whole book which would almost make the read worth it except there was nothing invested in the characters on my behalf.
Jennifer Pack
I enjoy books that are intricately plotted and let me into the minds of its characters. This book did both for me. Sometimes I get a little lost when books are told from many different perspectives as this was. There were moments when I was a little confused but I let the author do her job of leading to me to the next bit that would explain. Very well written, excellent description, intriguing puzzle of a plot. Well worth the few *seconds* when I felt it was difficult to get into.
Really liked this - was interested in the characters and found all of them interesting in their different ways, although I wasn't quite sure that they were necessarily very believable. Who knows though, people are strange sometimes! It wasn't difficult but at the same time it was thoughtful. The only thing I didn't like was the final page, projecting to the future which I thought was unnecessary and contrived.
I really enjoyed this book. A bit too much info about eye injuries, surgery, etc., but I skipped most of these parts. The book is really a love story, several love stories in fact. Some very old fashioned, some entirely modern, a couple simply heartbreaking (I am thinking of Meadows, as well as Iris, and I guess Ruby as well). I haven't read anything else by this author, I hope that more of her work get published in the US.
I always find it challenging to read books which skip back and forth in time, but I liked the characters and the tone enough to keep at it.

Only thing I didn't like was how the author chose to connect the characters at the end in a way that felt contrived. I liked the loose connection without the one paragraph in the second to last chapter which tried to tighten the connection between the 3 women you follow.
I wanted to like this book more than I did. I kept wondering how the 4 main characters were going to be connected (especially since two were in the past and 2 were in current times) but the connection didn't become known until the last 40 pages or so and by then I stopped caring (granted it was late and I just wanted to finish the book) but I skimmed the last 30 pages or so.

A lovely book. I didn't give it all five stars because those are reserved for oh-my-god-blew-me-away-take-to-my-sickbed-remember-forever books. This isn't quite one of those, but it is a very good, evocative story about love, loss, intertwining lives, and it's class-conscious to boot, with some exquisite writing. I do recommend it.
I liked the way this story was told, jumping from past to present to tie elements together in a way that allowed the reader to unwrap the context of the current situation in which the main characters find themselves. It wasn't a difficult read, nor was it incredibly stimulating. It was an honest, good story.
Daphne Atkeson
Remarkable voice, amazing writer, deft management of disparate stories only loosely linked, with frequent POV shifts that still maintain interest. Tour de force, no question. British writer, but stunningly skilled.
Very interesting literary concept. Kept reading to find out how all the characters were connected. Impossible to guess the full story. Told over a span of several decades (or more?). Kept me turning the pages.
Great character study...takes place in 1954 and 1994...back and forth which adds to the interest in character development and interaction. Easy to see why this was long-listed for the Orange Prize. Good storyteller.
a new favorite -- a cross between Kate Atkinson and Michael Cunningham's The Hours -- lots of characters and intertwining plots and a fascinating theme. The author's first book in print in the US I believe.
I asked myself as I kept reading this 366 pager, "why am I still reading this?" It must have been the soothing, subtle writing style of the author. Take out 100 pages and I'd give it a 3.
I think this is a very cleverly written, very fascinating book that I read with great enjoyment.
Brilliant book, beautifully written. Loved it.
Jul 29, 2011 Sara marked it as to-read
07 long list-orange prize
I just received an e-mail reminding me that I didn't review this book. The fact that I received this book a year ago and never finished reading it is pretty much the review. I liked what I read, but it certainly didn't pull me under like some books have the power to do. I never truly became connected (either positively or negatively) to any of the characters. I'm not opposed to finishing this book at some time, but for the time being there are more compelling titles on my to-read list.
Dec 19, 2008 Lori marked it as to-read
NYT Book Review
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Bernadette Drinane
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Patricia Ferguson was brought up in Kent, read history at Leeds university, and completed a two-year graduate nursing course at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel. This was at rather the end of an era; she was perhaps amongst the very last young women shown how to coax starched linen hats into the requisite five pleats, or told that pillow cases must always face away from the ward entrance;...more
More about Patricia Ferguson...
The Midwife's Daughter (The Midwife's Daughter, #1) Aren't We Sisters? (The Midwife's Daughter, #2) It So Happens Indefinite Nights Family Myths and Legends

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