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The Picture Book by Jo Baker

The Picture Book (2011)

by Jo Baker

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Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
good read, but nothing too exciting. Spans 4 generations starting from 1914 following William, Billy, Will than Billie. Its about each main character and their lives, including choices made in major relationships and their ways in life.
  justajem | Jul 8, 2014 |
Great book. So interesting and well written ( )
  shazjhb | Feb 4, 2013 |
A bit of a disappointment. It had a neat premise, but it just didn't keep me that interested because of all the jumps into the future. Maybe if it had tried to cover less, or had spent more time on each section, it might have worked. ( )
  digitalmaven | Jul 26, 2012 |
I picked this up because I liked Fleur's review of it. If you're in the mood for a family tale that takes you from 1914 to, I forget exactly, 2000 and a bit, but isn't exactly a family saga then this is the thing to read. Short portraits of the lives of four generations that make a great story when they are put together. Quite delightful. ( )
  nocto | May 31, 2012 |
This is a story told over three generations, covering the period from the first world war till today. We have William who lost his life at Gallipoli, and his son Billy , a great cyclist who fought in the second world war. William was a factory hand who would always send a postcard home to his wife Amelia of the places he saw that she kept in a book - a picture book. Billy's son is called Will (they did not like to vary the name), and he had a difficult childhood and spent much time in hospital because he was born a cripple with one damaged leg. But he became a successful Oxford academic. The last to feature in the story is Billie who becomes an artist in contemporary London. I liked the sound of this book as I like the concept of family stories covering different generations told over a period of time, and I thought this one was done quite well, but while I found the characters interesting enough, we did not delve deeply enough into there lives for me to see it as a great book, but it was worth reading. ( )
  kiwifortyniner | May 20, 2012 |
Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
“The Undertow” is messy and imperfect. It has a false start and a terrible ending, a few saccharine scenes and a joker whose recurring appearances start to strain. The prose can be jammy. And yet this portrait of four generations of a reticent British family is emotionally powerful. At one point, Billie stands in front of the famous painting “The Beheading of St. John the Baptist.” “You can’t switch off,” she thinks. “You can’t walk away. You have to look.” Baker is no Caravaggio. But you can’t walk away from her book.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0307957098, Hardcover)

Guest Reviewer: Kate Alcott on The Undertow by Jo Baker

Kate Alcott, the author of The Dressmaker, was a reporter covering politics in Washington D.C., where she and her husband still live.

One warning for the reader about to open The Undertow: don’t plan to read this remarkable, tender novel in short snatches of time, because it won’t work. Jo Baker’s story following the Hastings family through four generations will pull you up and hold you to the last page.

A young and frightened seaman facing the battle of Gallipoli during World War 1 scribbles out a cheery postcard to his wife. Years later, his great-granddaughter picks the postcard out of an old album and thinks about what this distant, unknown man must have felt and feared; for her and for us, he breathes with life.

It is, yes, a grand sweep of a family’s love and sadness and joy through time – but what makes the story stand out is the author’s gift for drawing every character vivid and full. She paints them with finely tuned detail. She understands their strengths and weaknesses, and, with great sensitivity, their contradictions.

As in real lives, choices are made, paths taken and sometimes regretted. Always, time moves on. So settle down in a chair and dive in. Follow these people through chapters that crackle with the bloody horrors of war and others that end as lightly as a kiss. You will be absorbed by them all – and their stories are ones you will not soon forget.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:41 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

"A novel about four generations of a British family--their secrets, their loves and losses, dreams and heartbreaks--captured in a series of individual moments that span the years from World War I, to World War II, to the 1960s, and up to the present"--Provided by publisher.… (more)

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