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Our Picnics in the Sun: A Novel by Morag…
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Our Picnics in the Sun: A Novel

by Morag Joss

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Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
Very well-written, but depressing and dark, lonely. I will read this author again, really gets into the heart of the characters she writes about. ( )
  Judy_Ryfinski | Jan 20, 2016 |
Very well-written, but depressing and dark, lonely. I will read this author again, really gets into the heart of the characters she writes about. ( )
  Judy_Ryfinski | Jan 20, 2016 |
In Our Picnics in the Sun: A Novel, by Morag Joss, we meet Howard and Deborah, who 30 years ago fell in love, married and moved into a tenancy in a small-holding in the country, enthused by the idea of "going back to the land" and supporting themselves with their own farm labour, along with pottery and a few B&B bookings for some extra cash. When Howard suffers a stroke, however, all the work of caring for him in addition to the work on the land falls on Deborah, whose only means of coping is to visit the town library once a week to send to and receive emails from the couple's adult son, Adam, a successful businessman who somehow seems never to have the time to get back home to England. Not even for his birthday, as Deborah learns to her chagrin; just as she has reluctantly taken in a couple of guests for the B&B, she learns that Adam will not be coming home for his 28th birthday, which sends her into another tailspin.... I have to say that while I've liked some of Joss's previous novels, I just couldn't stomach this one. I couldn't stand any one of the characters, the circumstances are very unpleasant and the story, well, to be honest I can't say much about the story because the point to which I've just described the book is the point at which I abandoned it, having read only about 25% of the novel. It was just too depressing for me. ( )
  thefirstalicat | Apr 20, 2014 |
bookshelves: cover-love, autumn-2013, published-2013, net-galley, e-book, bucolic-or-pastoral, exmoor, the-wrong-pyjamas, britain-scotland, britain-england, devon, families, lifestyles-deathstyles, lit-richer, mental-health, midlife-crisis, ouch, psychology
Read from November 21 to 24, 2013


NetGalley: Random House Publishing Group - Bantam Dell/Delacorte Press

From the description: late one evening, two men arrive needing a room for the night—and set off a chain of events that uncovers the relics of old tragedies. New wounds are cut deep, betrayals and cruelties intermix with tenderness and love.

Opening quote:

Nor ask what doubtful act allows
Our freedom in this English house,
Our picnics in the sun.

'A Summer Night' W H Auden

Opening: Howard Morgan was on the floor of the old pigshed when in transition from Cobra to Locust when a blood vessel burst in his head.

So the backstory is that artistic new-ager Howard yearned to go back to the land and consequently settled in a small-holding on Exmoor and deborahstonetbridge@yahoo.com manages the bed and breakfast, and all the practical side of things. The son, Adam, is an elusive character travelling here and there but never quite finding the time to come visit parents.

This is a tough read and certainly now one that will appeal to many who have not come smack-bang up against some of the issues raised within this story. See how others have shelved this as mystery and/or thriller, that is not the case at all, rather this is the social trauma of misguided believers in nothing but the natural. In fact the GoodRead's blurb box is totally inaccurate.

A back to the earth scenario and the dysfunction that can result. It is not a story that I enjoyed yet I do believe this has highlighted some modern day difficulties which are normally shied away from.

hermianopia: Loss of vision in one half of the visual field of one or both eyes.

M.A.S.K. Razorback ( )
  mimal | Jan 1, 2014 |
Our Picnics in the Sun by Morag Joss is a book that focuses on a few important aspects of life and family. There are three stories happening: the dynamic between Howard and Deborah, the distance communication between Deborah and Adam, and the commentary on the life of a caretaker in a family ill-equipped to handle emergency situations. Of the three, the one that broke my heart the most was the distance communication between Deborah and Adam, her son - but the combination of the three made for a powerful story, one that I both dreaded and ached to pick up ... just so I could find out what happened next.

Read the rest of this review at The Lost Entwife on Dec. 18, 2013. ( )
  TheLostEntwife | Dec 10, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0385342764, Hardcover)

Award-winning author Morag Joss has penned a beautifully rendered, meticulously crafted, and terrifyingly gripping novel of suspense—ideal for the fans of Eowyn Ivey, Ruth Rendell, and Barbara Vine.
 
One night, two strangers.
A damage that cannot be undone.
 
For thirty years, Howard and Deborah Morgan have poured all their energy and modest savings into Stoneyridge, a smallholding deep in the English moors. Howard putters with pottery, Deborah dabbles in weaving, and both struggle to tend sheep and chickens and live off the land. But what began with simple dreams of solitude and sunlit picnics in the hills has given way to a harsher reality.
 
To help with finances, they decide to turn Stoneyridge into a bed-and-breakfast. But a sudden stroke leaves Howard incapacitated and Deborah overwhelmed. Howard’s world, once so limitless, has shrunk to the confines of their crumbling house; Deborah’s main joy now comes in the form of a brief weekly email from their successful son, who lives abroad.
 
Then, late one evening, two men arrive needing a room for the night—and set off a chain of events that uncovers the relics of old tragedies. New wounds are cut deep, betrayals and cruelties intermix with tenderness and love. And through it all, Stoneyridge quietly hides the bitter and transformative truth.
 
Evocative, intimately claustrophobic, and psychologically complex, Our Picnics in the Sun is a novel of stunning prose and knife-sharp insight. Morag Joss crafts a modern masterpiece of rising tension that binds and releases like a beating heart, propelling readers to a final page that resonates and haunts.
 
Praise for Morag Joss’s Among the Missing
 
“This remarkable novel has an abundance of suspense at its core, put forth in beautiful prose that all but glows on the page. . . . [Joss] keeps a jittery tension going as the novel spins toward its violent, grand-scaled finale.”Booklist (starred review)
 
“A haunting, harrowing punch to the heart, Among the Missing is flat-out brilliant. About the secrets we keep, the lives we are desperate to live, and the chances we miss, it’s a psychological dazzler. Truly, one of my favorite books of this year—or any year.”—Caroline Leavitt, author of Is This Tomorrow
 
“Morag Joss is a writer who knows the old truth that genuine suspense comes not from car chases or gunplay but from the clash of conflicting hearts. Among the Missing is evidence not of a rising talent but of one already fully formed.”—Thomas H. Cook, author of Sandrine’s Case
 
“A spectacular psychological thriller . . . Joss’s beautiful, evocative novel is filled with tension and suspense.”RT Book Reviews

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:27 -0400)

For thirty years, Howard and Deborah Morgan have poured all their energy and modest savings into Stoneyridge, a smallholding deep in the English moors. To help with finances, they decide to turn Stoneyridge into a bed-and-breakfast. But a sudden stroke leaves Howard incapacitated and Deborah overwhelmed. Her main joy now comes in the form of a brief weekly email from their successful son, who lives abroad. Then, late one evening, two men arrive needing a room for the night--and set off a chain of events that uncovers the relics of old tragedies. Through it all, Stoneyridge quietly hides the bitter and transformative truth.… (more)

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