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Scissors, Paper, Stone

3.72  ·  Rating details ·  882 ratings  ·  49 reviews
Charles Redfern is in a coma. As he lies motionless in hospital, his wife, Anne, and daughter, Charlotte, are forced to come together to confront their relationships with him - and with each other.
Paperback, 247 pages
Published January 1st 2011 by Bloomsbury UK
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Average rating 3.72  · 
Rating details
 ·  882 ratings  ·  49 reviews

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Feb 07, 2012 rated it it was ok
This book made me really cross.

I ended up going to an event featuring this author at a literature festival. She was pleasant, intelligent, articulate - and read a couple of extracts from the novel. In one a woman hears that her husband has come off his bike. In the other the same woman, earlier on in her marriage, witnesses her husband being unfaithful

Having now read the whole thing, I have opted to dislike the novel - even if the author had seemed very likeable. It seems to be an attempt to fus
Feb 11, 2011 rated it really liked it

Had to think about rating for this book as would like to have given it 3.5 stars which was not possible but felt it deserved better than 3. I liked this debut novel by Elizabeth Day. It tells the story of 30-year-old Charlotte and her parents, Anne and Charles. Charles is involved in an accident and as he lies motionless in a coma in hospital, his wife Anne and daughter Charlotte are forced to come together to confront their relationships with him and with each other. I thought it was a well wri
Samantha Davenport
Aug 12, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
I was recommended this book along with The Garden of Evening Mists which was terrific so maybe it's me, particularly since I was impressed with how quickly and quietly an atmosphere of depression was established in the first 40-50 pages or so. The author can write. However for me there just wasn't enough plot to support a whole book and I found all of the characters unlikeable even the ones I was supposed to like. Given "truly disturbing" and "daring...story of damage" as cover blurbs it came ...more
Oct 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Wow, I did not intent to find this book as absorbing as I did, giving over a whole afternoon to finishing it off. Family secrets are the focus of this book, and very disturbing those secrets turn out to be. I will not comment further on the secrets [they drive the plot] but to say that every woman will find them heartbreaking. The voice of the novel is so direct and yet delicately english, beautifully written, and totally believable. The themes of damaged lives and betrayed love course through t ...more
Judith Yeabsley
Feb 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
This was another very un-cheery book for the most part but a must read for all English people raised by intelligent but not particularly loving parents. Aside from the abuse there were so many points to identify with !!
I was fascinated but appalled by the family dynamics and the central characters were well developed enough that you started to really feel for them. I would definitely read another of her books.
Wendy Greenberg
Jul 19, 2017 rated it it was ok
An unhappy family forced into confronting their demons by an accident. This could have been a far more incisive emotional read if the author hadn't inserted unnecessary descriptions/characters in an attempt to make sure we "understood" the dynamics. My feeling is that it needed to be more raw and without "cosy" resolution. ...more
Aug 13, 2011 rated it really liked it
An emotional touching study of a mother and daughter's broken relationship that revolves around the power held over them by their husband/father. Disturbing subject but well handled. Look forward to future novels.
Claire Fox
Aug 21, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought this book was a really true description of how, despite the main character being completely unlikeable, life behind closed doors can happen. I enjoy books that are set in a short snippet of a life ... I think this is worth a read.
Sep 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
WARNING SPOILERS, I want justice for Charles !!!, who knocked him off his bike, a man in his prime and ran away ? there are four suspects, min..... five if you include E Day who was the first to find him. It is now a murder investigation, too many cyclists are killed on our roads, over 100 a year, and nothing is done about it, what was said at the inquest,how far have the police got ? is there a cover up? It seams no one saw the collision.
1 Anne , she is my guess, Charles had a good job, life in
Alice Caryer
Oct 31, 2018 rated it liked it
This was a weird one. I've mainly rated it 3 because of the ending. I don't want to include spoilers but I just didn't find it very believable considering the emotional weight of the rest of the book. And weighty it is; this is not a fun read at all. I've never been more frustrated by a maternal figure in my entire reading life! ...more
Bríd Dunne
Aug 24, 2019 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 18, 2011 rated it liked it
An interesting read in to the complexities of a dysfunctional family. A great story for inner strength and never letting go of your true self. Although I enjoyed the writing and the complications of the characters I wish there was more to the story.
Elizabeth Cairney
Aug 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A really good read. Family relationships with the key character in a coma and looking at how the wife and his daughter review the relationship they had with him. Although he is not awake he still dominates their behaviour and feelings. A fascinating study of the parent child dynamic.
The Twins
Sep 07, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: lucky-dip
Highlighting the relationship between family members - some of it is believable but too much doom and gloom, I think these are really extremes. Father is extremely unlikable and mom is a coward.
Mandy Downie
Nov 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The subject matter is very sad BUT I really loved this book . Really well written - will look out for more of this author .
Emma Dickens
Gripping at points. Slightly dissapointed by the ending, just felt it didn't quite work. ...more
Libre Paley
Oct 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
The clever stroke at the outset of the book is to make us feel curiosity about, even a tentative sympathy for, the apparently innocent victim of a life-threatening accident. We only know him as a father that loves his daughter, as we expect fathers will. Broadly, we hope he lives.
The story then unfolds, with an awful gentleness, into a tale of flesh-crawling subjugation and coercive control. Within that nests an even darker secret, and at its heart lies the tumour of a betrayal. In many ways it’
Huw Rhys
Feb 08, 2019 rated it liked it
Not quite sure what to make of this book. In many ways it's a hard read - in many others, it's really accessible.

This is Elizabeth Day's first novel. She has a lovely, flowing writing style which has been developed in her later novels, but this first tome is beautifully written. It's clear, it's concise, it flows - and it also touches on the lyrical at times.

This tells the story of a family - a mother, a husband and a daughter - and the fraught, complicated, at times thoroughly horrible relation
Sue Hopkins
Mar 03, 2018 rated it liked it
The writing was beautiful, the authors way with words was beautiful and she sure knows how to tell a tale, I found her style quite exquisite. Intelligent and bold. however there was just something so depressing about the story I just couldn’t fully get into it. I really dislike stories where constantly characters don’t speak, where they are always silent, so restrained and yet everyone seems to understand each other! Really? Anne’s character was just so alien to me, almost like she met someone a ...more
Oct 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Gradual revelation of the relationships between the characters

This is an in-depth examination of Anne's relationships with her husband, Charles, her daughter, Charlotte and her friend, Janet. It is unusual in that the narrative is driven not by character or action but by these relationships. The viewpoint switches between the various characters, concentrating particularly on Anne and Charlotte. The chapter headings helpfully indicate which character or relationship will be the focus. There is so
Pamela Scott

This book really unsettled me. Judging by the blurb, I thought it would be a sad novel about a man dying and his grieving with and daughter. However, as the book gradually reveals Charles’s relationship with his wife and daughter I realised it was a different kind of book altogether. Charles is not a nice man and as the flesh-crawling truth about his relationship with his daughter Charlotte is revealed it made me shudder. Things are not quite as nasty as t
Apr 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a really thoughtful and in depth tale that really struck a chord with me- Day has a real knack at dissecting characters and relationships to peel apart situations. This is a very well written and careful debut, with parallels, I thought, to Patrick Melrose at times. It's been quite interesting to read some debuts by writers who I've become quite interested in as their success and market presence has increased- I hadn't known about this book, or Matt Haig's previous books, before recentl ...more
Ruth Lemon
Jul 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I just adore Day’s writing. Although this debut was written years before her podcast began which alerted me to her work, I can hear echoes of themes discussed by her guests and see reflections of many thoughts and beliefs she has since voiced in these characters.

The story deals with dark themes with sensitivity and grace, using the central event to explore a complex web of relationships. I enjoyed the way different chapters followed different characters, offering insights into their thoughts an
Sarah Williams
Apr 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
I moved back to this, Elizabeth Day’s debut novel, after reading ‘Paradise City’.
Scissors, Paper, Stone is not as polished but it is still beautifully written about three rounded, believable and engaging women. It deals with the trauma a charismatic but cruel man can inflict on his wife and daughter, and how this can force mother and daughter apart. It also shows, truthfully and unsentimentally, how simple kindness can have a strong redemptive effect.
Jan 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I don’t think I’ve ever found a book so compelling and horrifying in equal measure. It’s a car crash of middle class suburban life where not everything is as it appears to the outside world. It took me until the book was almost finished to finally feel an equal amount of sorrow for what Anne has endured compared to her daughter. Now that I’m finished I feel spent, relieved and at peace with how things ended in equal measure.
Jan 14, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Having become a recent listener to the authors podcast and her mention her writing, I was curious enough to pick this up from my local library.
My curiosity was well paid as I found it a gripping read- I wanted to know how the story would pan out and what was behind this relationship.
Personally, relationship focused novels are some of my favourites so this fit right in.
Apr 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
Excellent. So totally unlike the horrid book I recently read. The author takes on a serious subject within the confines of a family ( particularly the mother/daughter relationship) and treats it with thoughtful dignity. The complexity of the characters and their struggles/issues are written about in a dignified and sympathetic way.
Tara Jones
May 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Simon Harvey
Jan 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The secrets of a middle-class dysfunctional family slowly emerge when the father has an accident that puts him in a coma. Written well enough to be an enjoyable read, though the subjects are disturbing. I needed to suspend the obvious questions and let the author get on with the tale.
Oct 22, 2020 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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I want justice for Charles !!! 1 1 Oct 11, 2018 06:18AM  

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Elizabeth Day is an English journalist, broadcaster and novelist. She was a feature writer for The Observer from 2007 to 2016 and has written four novels.

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