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The Facts of Life : A Novel (original 2003; edition 2004)
by Graham Joyce
Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0743463439, Paperback)Winner of the 2003 World Fantasy Award Graham Joyce chronicles a haunting, war-torn terrain in this heartrending novel of one family's quest to begin again -- without forgetting the lives they left behind.
The Facts of Life
Set in Coventry, England, during and immediately after World War II, The Facts of Life revolves around the early years of Frank Arthur Vine, the illegitimate son of young, free-spirited Cassie and an American GI. Because Cassie is too unreliable and unstable to act as his proper guardian -- and is prone to "blue" periods in which she wanders off without warning or recollection -- Frank is brought up in the care of his strong-willed, stout-drinking grandmother, Martha Vine, who has, among other homemaking talents, the untoward ability to communicate with the dead.
So begins the first decade of Frank's life, one in which ghosts have a place at the table and divine order dictates the outcome of his days. Along the way there are brief stays with each of his six eccentric aunts, visits to the local mortuary, and voices inside of his own head that suggest that he, too, has the gift of supernatural intuition. An affecting tale of family and history, war and peace, love and madness, The Facts of Life will leave readers spellbound with its resounding expression of magic realism.
(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:30:28 -0400)
"The Facts of Life tells the story of the Vines, an extraordinary family of seven sisters living in Coventry during, and after, the second world war." "Presided over by an indomitable matriarch the sisters live out tangled and fraught lives built on loyalty and betrayal, love and frustration, fear and hope. Lives informed by family wisdom and sometimes harsh tradition." "From the hallucinatory horror of the night the Luftwaffe levelled Coventry, via the everyday tensions of a family just scraping through in wartime, to a bizarre interlude in a post-war communist collective, this is an evocative and affecting story of lives lived to the full." "And through it all wanders the young son of the youngest daughter. Never knowing his father he is passed from sister to sister. Frank is the innocent witness to a life that edges over from war into peace and from the mundane into the magical and the fey."--BOOK JACKET.
(summary from another edition)
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