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An Inventory of Heaven by Jane Feaver
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An Inventory of Heaven (2012)

by Jane Feaver

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The few years Mavis Gaunt spent in the village of Shipleigh, Devon, as a wartime evacuee - away from London and her parents' loveless marriage - were sufficient for her to conceive of the place as a heavenly retreat. But it is not until her twenties, with nothing left to keep her in the city, that Mavis decides to head back. Frances, Tom and Robert Upcott are reclusive siblings from a local farm.When Mavis returns to the village, she and Frances strike up an unlikely friendship.As they grow closer, Mavis is drawn into the sequestered life of the farm and begins at last to enjoy a sense of belonging. But a tragic sequence of events one winter's day is set to turn her heaven into a living hell. Mavis is seventy when Eve and her young son Archie turn up unexpectedly in the village. The tentative friendship that develops between them prompts Mavis to put together a collection of memories and treasures: her inventory. In revealing the truth of what happened at the Upcott farm, she is able to answer Eve's questions about the past, and in summoning them, finally to lay her own ghosts to rest. Chilling and poignant, An Inventory of Heaven is a meditation on the things we hold onto in life and how, in the end, we can try to let them go. Praise for Jane Feaver's work: 'Unflinchingly examines the tensions of intimate family life...will strike deep chords of recognition in the many readers she is sure to win.' Carol Anne Duffy. 'This is a unique voice' - Philip Hensher. 'Pitch perfect....Most memorable is Feaver's language - burnished and sturdily poetic with a saving comic streak' Observer. 'Extraordinary intelligence and charm...also extremely funny'. Independent 'Jane Feaver has proved an expert at creating a sense of place ... tender, imaginative prose' Sunday Herald. `she has a...way of teasing out the comedy of people struggling to deal with..."the long littleness of life"' The Times.
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The few years Mavis Gaunt spent in the village of Shipleigh, Devon, as a wartime evacuee - away from London and her parents' loveless marriage - were sufficient for her to conceive of the place as a heavenly retreat. But it is not until her twenties, with nothing left to keep her in the city, that Mavis decides to head back. Frances, Tom and Robert Upcott are reclusive siblings from a local farm. When Mavis returns to the village, she and Frances strike up an unlikely friendship. As they grow closer, Mavis is drawn into the sequestered life of the farm and begins at last to enjoy a sense of belonging. But a tragic sequence of events one winter's day is set to turn her heaven into a living hell.… (more)

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