Mourning Ruby explores identity and maternal ties and is bestselling author Helen Dunmore's eighth novel. Rebecca was abandoned by her mother in a shoebox in the backyard of an Italian restaurant when she was two days old. Her life begins without history, in the dark outdoors. Who is she, where has she come from and what can she become? Thirty ...
Mourning Ruby explores identity and maternal ties and is bestselling author Helen Dunmore's eighth novel. Rebecca was abandoned by her mother in a shoebox in the backyard of an Italian restaurant when she was two days old. Her life begins without history, in the dark outdoors. Who is she, where has she come from and what can she become? Thirty years later, married to Adam, she gives birth to Ruby, and to a new life for herself. But when sudden tragedy changed the course of that life for ever, and all the lives that touch hers, Rebecca is out in the world again, searching..."Moments that bring the reader to tears ...a fascinating - often brilliant - novel". (The Times). "Bold and unusual ...miraculously written, Dunmore's drama of loss and regeneration pieces together shattered lives". (Daily Mail). "Emotionally restrained, beautifully observed". (Daily Telegraph). Helen Dunmore has published eleven novels with Penguin: Zennor in Darkness , which won the McKitterick Prize; Burning Bright; A Spell of Winter, which won the Orange Prize; Talking to the Dead; Your Blue-Eyed Boy; With Your Crooked Heart; The Siege, which was shortlisted for the 2001 Whitbread Novel of the Year Award and for the Orange Prize for Fiction 2002; Mourning Ruby; House of Orphan; Counting the Stars and The Betrayal, which was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2010. She is also a poet, children's novelist and short-story writer.
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Publishers Weekly, 2004-02-09 When Rebecca, the narrator of most of Dunmore's fine, almost unbearably sad eighth novel (after 2003's Ice Cream), shares a flat with Joe in London, she begins to enjoy the pleasures of friendship and family for the first time in her life: she was abandoned as a baby and adopted by a couple remarkably unsuitable for parenting. Joe, a historian interested in Stalin, introduces her to simple pleasures and shows her that loneliness need not be permanent. And it's through Joe that she meets Adam, a neonatologist who becomes her husband and the father of their daughter, Ruby ("For the first time, I was tied to someone by blood"). Given the book's title, Ruby's death is no surprise (though it's still heartbreaking without being melodramatic), and Dunmore plumbs the consequences of loss: How does one mourn, and then accept, the unacceptable? Numbed by Ruby's death, Rebecca drifts away from Adam, finding diversion in a job as an assistant to a hotelier, Mr. Damiano; Adam buries himself in his work with premature babies. Ambitiously, Dunmore complements this tragic narrative with two other stories, one autobiographical, told by Mr. Damiano, about growing up in a circus where his parents were trapeze artists, and one told by Joe, a work of fiction set during WWI about a man and a woman who could be his and Rebecca's ancestors. Rebecca's own story isn't told linearly, so these narrative asides aren't as distracting as they sound. And they are critical to the author's main theme: that narrative is a key to understanding and to acceptance. This is that rare novel, an intensely emotional, fiercely intelligent story, fiction with the power to offer redemption. Author tour. (Mar.) FYI: Dunmore has won Britain's Orange Prize for Fiction. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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