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Cider with Rosie by Laurie Lee
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Cider with Rosie (1959)

by Laurie Lee

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Laurie Lee's Autobiographies (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
2,255484,689 (3.89)1 / 265
A beautifully produced centenary edition of this classic story of an English childhood, with cover and illustrations from Mark Hearld and an introduction from Michael Morpurgo. "Summer was also the time of these: of sudden plenty, of slow hours and actions, of diamond haze and dust on the eyes; of jazzing wasps and dragonflies, haystooks and thistle-seeds, snows of white butterflies, skylark's eggs, bee-orchids, and frantic ants... All this, and the feeling that it would never end, that such days had come forever... All sights twice-brilliant and smells twice-sharp, all game-days twice as long... we used up the light to its last violet drop, and even then we couldn't go to bed."" Cider With Rosie "is the best and most vital kind of memoir, rich with colourful, sensuous impressions of life in an English village after the First World War. It overflows with stories and characters made fantastical by the writer's child-perspective, and it draws the reader irresistibly into the lost land of the past. With this beautiful special edition, Vintage Classics celebrates 100 years since the birth of the author, Laurie Lee, and salutes this remarkable, surprising and well-loved classic.… (more)
  1. 00
    Every Day Was Summer by Oliver Wynne Hughes (Nickelini)
    Nickelini: Both books look back a both happy and sad times growing up in small villages in the UK.
  2. 00
    Precious Bane by Mary Webb (KayCliff)
  3. 00
    A Child's Christmas in Wales by Dylan Thomas (Anonymous user)
    Anonymous user: Very similar, poetic writing style that tries to convey memories of childhood in rural Britain through an imaginative child's eyes.
  4. 00
    The Taste of Apple Seeds by Katharina Hagena (_eskarina)
    _eskarina: Although different in many aspects, apples, memories and some strange and beautiful melancholia make these books similar.
  5. 01
    Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury (Michael.Rimmer)
  6. 01
    On the Black Hill by Bruce Chatwin (PilgrimJess)
    PilgrimJess: Another tale of country life but one set in Wales this time.
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English (46)  German (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (48)
Showing 1-5 of 46 (next | show all)
It is 1917 and Laurie Lee and his family have just arrived in the village of Slad in Gloucestershire for the first time. Their new home is nestled deep in the valley, warmed by open fires and water is got from a pump outside the back door. It is two families that have come together, the elder children are from the first marriage; his father re-married when their mother died, and had a second family before going off to war. Even though his father is not there, it is a happy childhood. The war reaches its end and the village celebrates; the family lives in hope of seeing their father again now it has ended. It was not to be.

Soon he was old enough to attend school. It was split into two classes, infants and Big Ones, separated by a partition. It was here that he was brought together with all the characters of the village and started to forge friendships that would remain with him. The teachers were very different to those today, harsher and often brutal, they had little scope for tolerance, demanding only obedience. Life in a rural community was as much about the daily life and way that the seasons slowed moved on slowly. Singing carols around the village at Christmas starting with the squire, skating on the frozen pond, to the balmy days of summer spent playing games in the fields.

Its roots clutched the slope like a giant hand, holding the hill in place. Its trunk writhed with power, threw off veils of green dust, rose towering into the air, branched into a thousand shaded alleys, became a city for owls and squirrels. I had thought such trees to be as old as the earth, I never dreamed that a man could make them.

Lee is such a lyrical author, writing about this tiny piece of England that was forever changed after the First World War. It is not shown through rose tinted glasses; this was tough at times, death was a frequent occurrence in his family and with neighbours and other villagers. The hard work was tempered by simple pleasures. This glimpse of a time long past, of a place that he loved and made him the man he was to become when he walked away at the age of 19. Thoughly enjoyable book that is really too short. ( )
  PDCRead | Apr 6, 2020 |
This is a nostalgic memoir of the author's life growing up in the English countryside in the early 1900s. I picked it up because it's on the 1001 books to read before you die list. It is presented in a series of vignettes and I found it nice, charming, etc., but not super memorable. Except for the portrayal of Lee's mother, which was so well done that I can't imagine forgetting her.

Nice enough, but not something you need to rush out to read. ( )
  japaul22 | Jul 8, 2019 |
Much of this book is very interesting but I was disturbed by the racism and the planned gang rape/ Sure, the boys backed done but in any century, gang rape is beyond the pale. ( )
  KateSavage | Mar 29, 2019 |
Crazy memoir of a unique family in western England in the early 20th century. ( )
  Grace.Van.Moer | Dec 27, 2018 |
The Edge of Day: a Boyhood in the West of England hasn’t got quite the same ring as Cider with Rosie but it is the same book for the American market. It seems hard to believe that growing up in rural Gloucestershire was like this not so long ago. It is a different age but the trials, tribulations and emotions of growing up are the same.
  jon1lambert | Sep 27, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 46 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (8 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Laurie Leeprimary authorall editionscalculated
Grove, ValerieIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ward, JohnIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To my brothers and sisters--the half and the whole
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I was set down from the carrier's cart at the age of three; and there with a sense of bewilderment and terror my life in the village began.
Quotations
The scullery was a mine of all the minerals of living. |Here I discovered water -- a very different element from the green crawling scum that stank in the garden tub. You could pump it in pure blue gulps out of the ground, you could swing on the pump handle and it came out sparkling like liquid sky. And it broke and ran and shone on the tiled floor, or quivered in a jug, or weighted your clothes with cold. You could drink it, draw with it, froth it with soap, swim beetles across it, or fly it in bubbles in the air. You could put your head in it, and open your eyes, and see the sides of the bucket buckle, and hear your caught breath roar, and work your mouth like a fish, and smell the lime from the ground. Substance of magic -- which you could tear or wear, confine or scatter, or send down holes, but never burn or break or destroy.
Mother had a touch with flowers. She could grow them anywhere, at any time, and they seemed to live longer for her. She grew them with rough, almost slap-dash love, but her hands possessed such an understanding of their needs they seemed to turn to her like another sun. She could snatch a dry root from field or hedgerow, dab it into the garden, give it a shake – and almost immediately it flowered. One felt she could grow roses from a stick or chair-leg, so remarkable was this gift.
Our terraced strip of garden was Mother's monument, and she worked it headstrong, without plan. She would never control or clear this ground, merely cherish whatever was there; and she was as impartial in her encouragement to all that grew as a spell of sweet sunny weather. She would force nothing, graft nothing, nor set things in rows; she welcomed self-seeders, let each have its head, and was the enemy of very few weeds. Consequently our garden was a sprouting jungle and never an inch was wasted. Syringa shot up, laburnum hung down, white roses smothered the apple tree, red flowering-currants (smelling sharply of foxes) spread entirely along one path; such a chaos of blossom as amazed the bees and bewildered the birds in the air. Potatoes and cabbages were planted at random among foxgloves, pansies, and pinks. Often some species would entirely capture the garden – forget-me-nots one year, hollyhocks the next, then a sheet of harvest poppies. Whatever it was, one let it grow. While Mother went creeping around the wilderness, pausing to tap some Odd bloom on the head, as indulgent, gracious, amiable and inquisitive as a queen at an orphanage.
Our mother was one of those obsessive collectors who spend all their time stuffing the crannies of their lives with a ballast of wayward objects. She collected anything that came to hand ... But in one thing – old china – Mother was a deliberate collector, and in this had an expert’s eye.
Old china to Mother was gambling, the bottle, illicit love, all stirred up together; the sensuality of touch and the ornament of a taste she was born to but could never afford. She hunted old china for miles, though she hadn’t the money to do so; haunted shops and sales with wistful passion, and by wheedling, guile, and occasional freaks of chance carried several fine pieces home.
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