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Shade

3.29 of 5 stars 3.29  ·  rating details  ·  333 ratings  ·  45 reviews
The Oscar-winning filmmaker Neil Jordan returns to fiction with a haunting, highly praised novel, his first in ten years. Narrated by the ghost of Nina Hardy, an actress who is murdered in the opening scene of the book, "Shade" tells the story of two pairs of siblings growing up in Ireland in the first half of the century. Through a childhood that memory gives the luster o...more
ebook, 288 pages
Published August 1st 2010 by Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (first published January 1st 2004)
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(showing 1-30 of 648)
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Laura
WHEEE, my 4 and 5 star book streak continues. I'm usually lucky if I read even two books in a row that I would rate more than a 3, so this is awesome.

This is a strange, eerie, gorgeous book. It's a coming of age tale, a story of World War I era Ireland (and beyond), a dark love story(stories?), a ghost story. It's also very atmospheric, beautifully written and...did I mention strange? But I love weird books (as long as they meet my other basic literary "requirements") so that's just fine with me...more
Kirsten
From the description on the back of this book, it sounds like The Lovely Bones, but it's really not. Yes, there's a murder, yes, the spirit of the woman murdered has some awareness of what occurs after her death. But in reality it begins with a murder, then narrates the events leading up to it. It's more truly a literary novel about love, lust, and thwarted passions of all kinds.

I enjoyed it, but I've only given it 3/5 because it's one of those novels that constantly reminds the reader that it's...more
Marport
Using the ghost of the main character was an interesting technique and, as bizaare as it sounds, actually worked well. I was engrossed from the start. The characters and their relationships are interesting and the impact of passion, obsession and betrayal upon them ultimately reveals all. I became an obsessive reader!
Padraic
In Ireland, just because you're dead doesn't mean you don't get a say. Lovely.
Dark-Draco
This is the story of Nina, killed by a childhood friend and trapped as a ghost in the house where she grew up. As the police come and go, and her body rots in its unfound hiding place, she begins to relive her own live, becoming the mysterious figure that haunted her as a child. From her lonely childhood, to the meeting with George and Janie, the arrival of her step-brother, to the lofty heights of stardom and eventually back to her own death.

A brilliantly written novel, although not a great de...more
Lynne
This is one of those books that people love to say they've read and that they love it and it's all very clever. I read it for a book group and didn't love it at all! It was rambling in parts and I had to reread them to try and understand them which I ultimately didn't so skipped them. The story could've been so good but wasn't - I didn't enjoy the style of the writing, there were random sections that didn't really seem to tie in with the story and you find out what happens at the beginning of th...more
Jessica
I really, really liked this book. It's dark, it kinda has a few moments that make you uncomfortable for variable reasons. It's engrossing. After I finished it, I thought, It's been a long time since I've read a book that is that good. I felt like it sat with me for a while after I finished it, like a shadow. Would give 5 stars, but I remember at some point towards the middle/end realizing that they kinda abandoned the narration from the ghost point of view for a while, and I noticed it was missi...more
Audrey Montague
Though it got off to a slow start, I ended up engrossed in this story. Having grown up in the country a bit isolated and with a limited selection of playmates, I could relate to the characters. each person's story evolves in unexpected twists and turns that always bring them back together. surprises await....and the historical aspect that Gregory provides when recounting his memories of war are haunting. all in all, a very good book.
LG
The blurb promised exactly the kind of thriller I would enjoy: return to childhood mysteries, brutal murder, heroine trying to make sense of it all. As usual, the blurb lied. Or, at least, it was obviously written by someone who had read only half of this novel.

The other half, which insinuates itself in the midst of the narrative, is made up of a patchwork of voices: the dead heroine’s, the half-brother’s, the friend’s (sister to the murderer). The result is a beguiling story that disintegrates...more
Lynyrd
Ireland, 1950. Nina Hardy wakes in the big house where she grew up. Now aged fifty, she has returned to the fading beauty of her old home, and its unkempt gardens, its views of the wild Irish Sea, and its long-buried memories. With her childhood friend George, she is seeking peace from a turbulent world. But by the end of the day, a brutal crime will have been committed, which will alter their lives forever.

Hmmn where to start... This is a book that left me very mixed. The writing is good and Jo...more
Janet
I loved the story or at least the concept of the story. I did not love his telling of the story. The writing itself is good at times - Jordan is a director as well as a writer so scenes are descriptive and provoking - and staged. The book is just so confusing. It seems that everyone has more than one name, especially the main character, Nina (or Dolly or Hester or whoever she may be at any given moment.) The story is told from everyone's memory of the same event - so one minute you're in the pas...more
Leif
Does the idea of exquisite plotting, strong characters and apple-clear descriptive atmospheres in a novel entice you? What about a story of sidelives and quiet corners in the British empire around the turn of the twentieth century? Granted, some of the most obvious questions raised by the novel's events remain unanswered by narrative diegesis and, granted, Jordan has a filmmaker's sense of the spectacular; so too, however, does his filmmaker's eye see a world so rich and so full of fiction's pow...more
Kate
I bought this book as a first edition paperback, read a few chapters and abandoned it as too difficult to get into.

So, almost a decade later, I found it on my shelf and tried it again. It is ridiculously hard to follow part I, because of the dual narration from the same character at two points in time. The book isn't plot driven, it's a study in four characters (although Janie, of the foursome, is left to founder somewhat).

I'm a fast reader, but the density and complexity of the narration mean...more
Samantha
I found the premise of this book very intriguing. However, as I started to read the book I was a little disappointed. The dialogue throughout most of the book is unbelievable, most adults don't talk like that let alone children. I found it hard to identify with the characters, and throughout most of the book just wished the story would end already. About three quarters of the way through the book I found it enjoyable again. Though the story didn't live up to my expectations Jordan's prose though...more
Jesse Bullington
The first novel I've read by director Jordan (The Company of Wolves, The Butcher Boy), a ghost story where the twist is beneficially detailed at the very beginning. This leads to the novel itself being more a tragic drama with some neat supernatural elements. The characters, events, and setting often serve as a microcosm of Ireland in the first half of 20th century, and I'd highly recommend the work to anyone interested in that age and locale. Quite beautiful, if a little rough around the metaph...more
nobody
I got through this book, but was in no way impressed by anything in particular. I found it all a bit wishy washy, and although I could picture the characters, I couldn't see their faces. The same with the landscape, I was seeing it all through a veil, which perhaps was the point? But I like to be fully trasported into a book and I want to feel like I could write a letter to the characters and get a letter back. I finished this book and went straight into another without a second thought.
Jansie
very hard to get into and follow - " Shade. Of a bat's wing, of a sycamore at noon, of an ash in thin moonlight, in the biggest shade of all. Nightshade. Shade of what I was. I am that oddest of things, an absence now. A rumour, a shade within a shadow, a remembrance of a memory, my own. A stray dog forages with my wellington boot, buries it in the potato patch, digs it up again, buries it again."
Jen
I really really wanted to finish this book, but I couldn't. The summary of this book sounded so good, but I just couldn't get into it. I never looked forward to reading it and I was always waiting for something big to happen. Very slow read and I couldn't even finish it. I guess it would suck for me if it got really good after the first 100 pages because I just couldn't make it past that!
Larry
Nov 28, 2012 Larry marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Zarah
So so so many details, at first I couldn't understand why, but towards the end every detail seemed relevant. It was extraordinary. I loved it. I couldn't see the "why" part of the murder until later on so it kept me reading until I figured it out.
It took me a very long time to read through it because I'd get into it and then stop reading and not get back into for days.
Diane
A woman, murdered by a childhood friend, returns from the grave to haunt herself. She narrates her own life and brings a bittersweet knowledge to that which she observes. Excellent novel including visions of Ireland in the early days of the 20th century, WWI, the theatre scene, and how childhood relationships stand the test of time.
Sandra Reynolds
it was a good book,a little hard to follow in parts,it was sad but Jordan paints a picture of childhood innocence and describes the era and the location so well you feel like youre there.Its my first novel by Jordan so i think i would probably read some more of his work.
Dana
2.5 stars. I liked the idea of the book but the style wasn't my taste. It's the type where instead of ever really saying what is happening in a "big moment", the author talks around and around it so you have to infer what he means. For me, that gets old.
Lara
Jordan certainly has a talent for beautiful prose and paints a vivid landscape in this novel. Unfortunately, I found the jumps in time and narrative voice confusing, and the parts of the book that glowed served to magnify the more stagnant portions.
Jessica
Although the dialogue was a bit too poetic for children speak, too many Shakespearean observations and ten dollar words, I thought the story was engaging enough to allow for a bit of writer's fantasy. A little slow, but a good read.
Sylvia
Mar 15, 2012 Sylvia is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
To early to say. Took a little break - changed books. I don't usually do that but I think I was a bit spooked. Strange, it is not scary, but it touches on a timelessness that made me long for air.
Sarah
Amazing writing - very puzzled as to why this didn't win the Man Booker prize. Jordan is so much more than screenwriter (The Crying Game, Etc...)
Big thumbs up!
Dale Sino
A superior use of the same metafiction device (narrator is "speaking from the grave") as "The Lovely Bones." Give Bones a pass and read "Shade" instead.
Manda Graham
I enjoyed parts of this book more than others as I found some of the switches between characters confusing. Overall a very interesting read.
alisonwonderland
A librarian at Salt Lake County Library Services recommended this one to me on Book Recommendation Day!
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Neil Jordan is an Irish novelist and film director.
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“Nina felt an inordinate pleasure, a pleasure that seemed to creep up on her the way the mud oozed through her barefoot toes.” 2 likes
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