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The Greatcoat: A Ghost Story by Helen…
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The Greatcoat: A Ghost Story (edition 2012)

by Helen Dunmore

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2001858,750 (3.2)35
Member:JenMDB
Title:The Greatcoat: A Ghost Story
Authors:Helen Dunmore
Info:Atlantic Monthly Press (2012), Edition: Uncorrected Proof Paperback, Hardcover, 208 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***1/2
Tags:WWII, ghost story

Work details

The Greatcoat by Helen Dunmore

Recently added byJuliana.Brina, cappybear, conantl, tina1969, Violetthedwarf, private library, rivkahh, Ann_Louise

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Showing 1-5 of 18 (next | show all)
This is the first novel by Helen Dunmore that I've read and I gather she's capable of better than this, if the other reviews are anything to go by. I thought The Greatcoat was quite atmospheric with a real sense of time and place, but found the characters slightly irritating and I drifted out of the book around halfway through, reaching the end with a sense of relief. An adequate time-passer, probably quite forgettable. ( )
  cappybear | Nov 17, 2014 |
Isabel Carey is a newly married doctors wife living in Yorkshire. It's 1952 and the war is not long over. Her husband is not at home very much and Issy becomes lonely. In the back of a cupboard she finds a greatcoat and when she uses it for warmth there is a knock at the window.

Outside is a young pilot who wants to come in.

When I first started this book I thought I was reading a childrens book, the writing and descriptions are really basic. The book is a ghost story and I have to say not very creepy at all. At times I was quite confused with what was going on. I did think is there a bit of time travel too but it comes clear later on.

The story is not engrossing and although it is only a short book it seemed like it was not going to end. I tried very hard to like this book but as the story progressed I was getting more bored. I was hoping for something to happen to make the read worthwhile. What did happen I guessed early on and the story was predictable.

A very poor attempt at a ghost story. I haven't read any books by this author before so I can't compare it to her other books. There are a lot better ghost stories out there with James Herbets Haunted being a good one to read. ( )
  tina1969 | Nov 2, 2014 |
a charming, chilling little ghost story. More internal than extrernal, as all the best hauntings should be. Wonderful description. No big scares, but a pervading sense of creepiness and sadness.
( )
  Violetthedwarf | Oct 23, 2014 |
a charming, chilling little ghost story. More internal than extrernal, as all the best hauntings should be. Wonderful description. No big scares, but a pervading sense of creepiness and sadness.
( )
  Violetthedwarf | Oct 23, 2014 |
This is a ghost story but it is sad and painful rather than particularly frightening or menacing. The characters are mostly well rounded and believable and the plot intriguing. It was a good read but not a great one. It is hard to say what was missing. The way the story wrapped up was unsatisfying. There was a large gap in time which was swept over and there was a crash scene which was described too often. However, on the whole, I enjoyed this book. It was gripping and an easy read but more depth would have helped. ( )
  rosiezbanks | Feb 26, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 18 (next | show all)
The Greatcoat is more reminiscent of classic children's time-travel fiction, Tom's Midnight Garden or Charlotte Sometimes or Alison Uttley's Traveller in Time, than of Poe or MR James. Those books give an innocent generation ways of knowing historical trauma – perhaps the only preparation for the injustices of the present and the future – often using the possessions or dwellings of the dead as the key to time-travel, which is in itself a form of haunting. So too does The Greatcoat. We all know that young men die in war, and that they are brave and skilled and also frightened, and that women's lives are distorted by these deaths. Dunmore's gift, familiar from The Siege and The Betrayal, is to use a finely drawn domestic setting to show the great events of European history on a human scale. She doesn't need "horror" to spook her readers; our past is bad enough.
 
But where this novel stands out is in its wonderful sketches of the utter creepiness of life in the Careys' dark little flat....Fans of Dunmore's Russian novels may struggle with this new direction. The Siege and The Betrayal were brilliant because they fleshed out the real, human details of huge, historical events. This novel adds an extra layer of unreality to fiction, and calls for a reader who is really willing to suspend disbelief. In that sense, it is a perfect ghost story, that will reward Hammer horror readers as well as open-minded Dunmore fans. This ghostly, literary war story could be the start of a beautiful friendship.
 
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Book description
In the winter of 1952, Isabel Carey moves to the East Riding of Yorkshire with her husband Philip, a GP. With Philip spending long hours on call, Isabel finds herself isolated and lonely as she strives to adjust to the realities of married life.

Woken by intense cold one night , she discovers an old RAF greatcoat hidden in the back of a cupboard. Sleeping under it for warmth, she starts to dream. And not long afterwards, while her husband is out, she is startled by a knock at her window.

Outside is a young RAF pilot, waiting to come in.

His name is Alec, and his powerful presence both disturbs and excites her. Her initial alarm soon fades and they begin an intense affair. But nothing has prepared her for the truth about Alec's life, nor the impact it will have on hers...
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0099564939, Hardcover)

A terrifyingly atmospheric ghost story by the Orange-prize-winning Helen Dunmore.
 
In the summer of 1954, newly wed Isabel Carey arrives in a Yorkshire town with her husband Philip. As a GP he spends much of his time working, while Isabel tries hard to adjust to the realities of married life. Life is not easy: she feels out-of-place and constantly judged by the people around her, so she spends much of her time alone.
 
One cold winter night, Isabel finds an old RAF greatcoat in the back of a cupboard that she uses to help keep warm. Once wrapped in the coat she is beset by dreams. And not long afterwards, while her husband is out, she is startled to hear a knock at her window, and to meet for the first time the intense gaze of a young Air Force pilot, handsome, blond and blue-eyed, staring in at her from outside.
 
His name is Alec, and his powerfully haunting presence both disturbs and excites Isabel. Her initial alarm soon fades, and they begin a delicious affair. But nothing could have prepared her for the truth about Alec's life, nor the impact it will have on her own marriage.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:46:58 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

In the summer of 1954, young wife, Isabel Carey, arrives in a Yorkshire town with her husband Philip. As a GP he spends much of his time working, while Isabel tries hard to adjust to the realities of married life. It isn't easy.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 3 descriptions

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