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Coral Glynn by Peter Cameron
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Coral Glynn (original 2012; edition 2012)

by Peter Cameron

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11811102,161 (3.41)3
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In post-war England, Coral Glynn arrives in a remote country-house to nurse a dying woman. While there, she encounters an odds-and-sods cast of characters who each contribute to the books sense of menace. Part gothic romance, part Agatha Christie, and part psychological study of a young woman unsure of her place in the world.
  vplprl | May 15, 2014 |
The characters left me cold and I was thoroughly uninterested in them. Sorry, would not recommend. ( )
  iicydiamonds | Jan 10, 2014 |
Quiet, mysterious, beautiful, devastating. Makes me think of Forster's "Maurice." ( )
  susanbooks | Aug 1, 2013 |
Coral Glynn is a character that things happen to and around, which strikes me as odd for a title character, for most of the book, she is at the whim of available positions (for in home nursing care) and is fairly powerless in personal situations. She struggles to make decisions and then seems to make them rashly. I found I was as uncertain of her as she was of herself. Some lovely writing. ( )
  Lcwilson45 | Dec 9, 2012 |
An interesting book. If anything it is a "fairy tale" for adults. Enjoyable and easy read. Read it on the beach.
  shazjhb | Jun 4, 2012 |
The word "odd" is used over 50 times in this novel, and it is perhaps the word that best describes it; it is full of odd personalities and odd relationships; nonetheless, it is an enjoyable read.

In 1950, a twenty-something private duty nurse, Coral Glynn, takes a job looking after an elderly woman at Hart House, an isolated English manor house. A relationship develops between Coral and Major Clement Hart, her patient's son, but all does not go smoothly.

The book is a novel of manners cum gothic tale. It has the remote, gloomy house with a suffocating atmosphere. The master of the house is brooding and damaged. All of the characters seem like lost souls who go from misunderstanding to misunderstanding because of their painful politeness. Rectitude and a lack of confidence prevent people from speaking up to express half-acknowledged emotions or to clarify situations. Hidden motives abound, and the reader is often left wondering about the reasons for a character's behaviour. Some actions are never explained: How was Clement wounded? Why doesn't Clement speak to his dying mother? Why did Coral's predecessors leave their nursing jobs so quickly?

Coral is not a typical heroine; she is timid, weak, lonely, unemotional, sober, and repressed. (Most of the other main characters possess many of these same qualities.) Coral is annoyingly passive; she seems to drift into situations and then panics and flees. She is totally lacking in introspection. At one point she goes to the cinema and a complete stranger puts his hand on her knee: "He kept his eyes focused on the screen, as if the parts of his body were separate, his hand a small country at the outskirts of a large empire that enjoys, simply because of its distance from the capital, the sort of autonomy that is merely a result of negligence." This describes Coral; her behaviour seems totally removed from thought. She is suspected of theft and murder because of her reticence to speak up. At one point, Coral says, "'I just don't know what to think . . . You cannot . . . expect me to know what to think or say. It's all such a muddle.'" She does move from muddle to muddle, another favourite word in the book. Despite being able to identify several of Coral's traits, in the end the reader will still find her to be enigmatic. Sometimes she seems so vague as hardly to exist. She herself needs visual proof that she exists: "She looked back through the cafe window at her table, which had not yet been cleared, and the remnants of her meal remained there as blatant as evidence: she was a person in the world. She existed . . ."

This description might not seem like a recommendation, but the book is oddly appealing. Don't let my befuddled review discourage you; you may, like me, find it worthy of a re-read. ( )
  Schatje | May 3, 2012 |
The war is over, it is 1950 and Coral comes to the English countryside to nurse a dying woman. There is a sense of melancholia that permeates this novel, a desolation, as so many things after the war have changed. Coral meets the son of the household, a man who lost part of his leg in the war. The ways in which we find love and how we can convince ourselves to make do, make a choice when no others are available are forefront of this novel. A childhood game gone wrong, sends Coral to London and it is there that she at last finds herself and than finds happiness. Good atmospheric read. ( )
  Beamis12 | Mar 22, 2012 |
I enjoyed this novel, but it was a bit too literary for me. Loneliness is the theme here. And Cameraon does a great job creating characters who are book club discussable. I'm glad I read it, I'd certainly recommend it, but it felt a bit above my normal reading tastes. ( )
  ken1952 | Mar 21, 2012 |
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