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Alys, Always: A Novel by Harriet Lane
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Alys, Always: A Novel (original 2012; edition 2012)

by Harriet Lane

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2421647,619 (3.6)48
Member:chazzard
Title:Alys, Always: A Novel
Authors:Harriet Lane
Info:Scribner (2012), Hardcover, 224 pages
Collections:Read but unowned
Rating:****
Tags:london, car accident, grief, relationships, suspense, thriller, fiction, tpl

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Alys, Always by Harriet Lane (2012)

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» See also 48 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 16 (next | show all)
Actually 3.5 stars. This book was definitely worth reading, amazing how the protagonist did what she did
( )
  crazeedi73 | Jan 30, 2016 |
Actually 3.5 stars. This book was definitely worth reading, amazing how the protagonist did what she did
( )
  crazeedi73 | Jan 30, 2016 |
Actually 3.5 stars. This book was definitely worth reading, amazing how the protagonist did what she did
( )
  crazeedi73 | Jan 30, 2016 |
Actually 3.5 stars. This book was definitely worth reading, amazing how the protagonist did what she did
( )
  crazeedi73 | Jan 30, 2016 |
I read this, Lane's first novel, because I really liked Her. I wasn't disappointed. This one also features a scheming woman, though Frances is not quite as venomous as Nina, the protagonist of Her.
Library book. ( )
  seeword | Sep 20, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 16 (next | show all)
Written in the present tense, Lane’s breezy, lacerating first novel is less a cynical exercise than a deeply nostalgic one, a kind of blowing on the ember of the days when authors mattered enough to the culture to be valued as superficially as movie stars.
 
Alys, Always is not flawless; the ending is not quite believable (and yet, so surely is the character of Frances drawn that for some it will be entirely so) and Lane’s symbols at times groan, so freighted are they (the windows in Hampstead, where Alys’s family live, “are always cleaner – more reflective, more transparent – than the windows in my part of town”). Still, it’s a well-written story told with verve, so much so that Frances, unlikable as she is, becomes perversely compelling: You keep turning the pages, certainly – perhaps more absorbedly than you’d like to admit.
 
Harriet Lane's brilliant first novel is about a newspaper subeditor on the book pages, an "invisible production drone, always out in the slips, waiting to save people from their own mistakes"....t is a novel that will unsettle and make your heart dip, long after you have put it aside.
 
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Epigraph
A violet bed is budding near,
Wherein a lark has made her nest:
And the good they are, but not the best;
And dear they are, but not so dear.

-Christina Rossetti
Dedication
For G.S.C.
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It's shortly after six o'clock in on a Sunday evening .
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Book description
On a bitter winter’s night, Frances Thorpe comes upon the aftermath of a car crash and, while comforting the dying driver, Alys Kyte, hears her final words. The wife of a celebrated novelist, Alys moved in rarefied circles, and when Frances agrees to meet the bereaved family, she glimpses a world entirely foreign to her: cultured, wealthy, and privileged. While slowly forging a friendship with Alys’s carelessly charismatic daughter, Frances finds her own life takes a dramatic turn, propelling her from an anonymous existence as an assistant editor for the books section of a newspaper to the dizzying heights of literary society.

Transfixing, insightful, and unsettling, Alys, Always drops us into the mind of an enigmatic young woman whose perspective on a glamorous world also shines a light on those on the outside who would risk all to become part of it.
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Comforting a dying car crash victim before being invited to meet the woman's privileged family, Frances is transformed through her friendships with two family members from an unknown editor to a sought-after figure in literary society.

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