L'uomo dietro il vetro
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L'uomo dietro il vetro

3.86 of 5 stars 3.86  ·  rating details  ·  594 ratings  ·  63 reviews
Coventry, anni '40. Dopo la morte del marito Martha Vine deve crescere da sola sette figlie: un'impresa non facile, soprattutto durante la seconda guerra mondiale. Ma quando la più piccola Cassie, ribelle e inquieta, si rifiuta di dare in adozione il figlio nato da una relazione occasionale, Martha vede in quel bimbo un segno del destino e decide che verrà allevato a turno...more
Hardcover, Narrativa Nord, 369 pages
Published March 1st 2005 by Nord (first published 2002)
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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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
Elizabeth Hunter
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
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This was a sedate book - the plot moved at its own rate in no crucial direction but forward with the flow of life. The more I thought about it, the more The Facts of Life seemed the perfect title. It's varied, it's sometimes a little mad and it brings you all kinds of people. (view spoiler)...more
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
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
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
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
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
Nádia Batista
"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
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
Althea Ann
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
I really enjoyed this book. NB: there are some spoilers in this review. It's a bit of a strange beast in some respects. Joyce handles a multitude of female characters so well that it might have been written by a woman in my opinion (or at least, in my opinion as a male reader). And the 'supernatural' is almost incidental to the plot, yet is completely absorbed by it. The incident with the German bomber, the mysterious plant that stops William cheating with Rita, the séance at the twin sisters, t...more
Terry Mark
This book brought the true horrors of war in to your own own backyard and particularly Coventry as it was pretty well destroyed during the second world war. But Graham Joyce always manages to do is see people getting on with their difficult lives, rebuilding and finding happiness and enjoyment regardless of the pitfalls and difficulties that surround them. It's full of great character's, magical experiences and a little bit of naughtiness. Another gem by this great author.
I am currently obsessed with Graham Joyce. His stories seem to always reinforce the love of family, of children, of good friends, and reinforce these values.

In this book we meet Martha and her 7 daughters, whom she is still shepherding through difficult waters even as they are adults. Her youngest, Cassie, has just delivered her second child, a boy, out of wedlock, and seems unconcerned about who the father is. But, she is determined to keep this child, and Martha ultimately agrees, with the con...more
Sashko  Liutyj
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
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.
La historia de una familia formada por una madre y sus siete hijas en el Coventry de los años posteriores a la Segunda Guerra Mundial.

Se la puede clasificar como realismo mágico, pero eso hará que los lectores "serios" se alejen de ella, así que creo que es importante poner el acento en la parte del costumbrismo, del día a día, y sobre todo de las emociones que te va transmitiendo a cada párrafo.
El capítulo del bombardeo de Coventry es espectacular, pero el punto fuerte de la novela son sus pers...more
I actually bought this book from a clearance shelf and I am pleasantly surprised. The characters become unseeingly real and i absolutely love that in a book.It's a family epic that revolves mostly around the young boy frank,Who's mother is a bit of a free spirit, but a wonderful character nonetheless. So it has been taken upon the six sisters and grandma to raise him. It's a mystery, it's a fantasy, A story of a family sticking together no matter what.... it's all things rolled together

So glad I discovered this author. Set in Coventry a city I know, and which is the author's home town, the descriptions of the blitz and fey nature of some of the characters held me spellbound. There is humour there, and each character is dealt with sensitively. The darker side is there but this doesn't spoil the gentle nature of the novel. I will eagerly look for another by Joyce !
well worth reading...set during and just after WWII follows the life of a young girl in Coventry England pregnant by an American GI. Her parents and six sisters all have quirky personalities and all want a hand in raising the child. There is a "special" heredity trait in three members which makes for some very interesting scenes.
An interesting romp, a tour of England right after the wall with the typical quirky characters that you often see in English movies of that period. There is a touch of the supernatural, but it is woven into the story without overpowering the characterizations that is the heart of the peice.
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Graham Joyce is 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 position and moved to the Greek islands...more
More about Graham Joyce...
Some Kind of Fairy Tale The Silent Land The Tooth Fairy Dark Sister The Limits of Enchantment

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