Lillian would say she's no trouble, content to let the days go by, minding her own business and bothering no one. She'd rather not recall the past and, at 72, doesn't see much point in thinking too much about the future. But when her closed existence is suddenly shattered by a random act of violence committed by a young girl, Lillian is catapulted ...
Lillian would say she's no trouble, content to let the days go by, minding her own business and bothering no one. She'd rather not recall the past and, at 72, doesn't see much point in thinking too much about the future. But when her closed existence is suddenly shattered by a random act of violence committed by a young girl, Lillian is catapulted abruptly out of her exile. Robbed of everything she owns, she embarks on a journey to find the thief -- but soon finds that what began as a search for stolen belongings has in fact become about the rediscovery of a stolen life.
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Publishers Weekly, 2004-02-09 In this odd and moving second novel from Azzopardi, whose first novel, The Hiding, was a Booker finalist, a thief makes off with a small case containing some useless relics belonging to an elderly homeless woman-variously called Patricia, Lillian and Winifred, depending on the people who "care" for her. Patricia's search for the thief and her belongings becomes an excavation of her past, beginning with her prewar girlhood in the English town of Chapelfield; it's a haunting evocation of neglect, abuse and mental illness. Born with a head of spiky red locks that her dad refers to as "telltale" hair, the "feeble-minded" Patricia is passed off to her grandfather (after her depressed, delusional mother dies), then, during WWII, sent to live with a bitter, lonely aunt on a scraggly farm. But when 15-year-old Patricia gets pregnant, she's shuttled back to Chapelfield, only to discover that all her relatives have disappeared. It's a harrowing, painful story, saved from melodrama by the unsentimental first-person perspective and a challenging, elliptical narrative. The backstory, revolving around the telltale hair, is slow to emerge, but as the pieces of the plot begin to fall into place, the book gains sweep and power, building to an unexpected (and unexpectedly horrifying) climax. The prose has flashes of brilliance-"the rain is a river of silver coins"-and while some readers won't respond to the fatalistic acquiescence of Patricia/Lillian/Winnie, they can't fail to be moved by the sadness that shrouds this largely lost life. Agent, Derek Johns, A.P. Watt. (Mar. 11) Forecast: The Hiding Place sold 60,000 copies in the U.S. and was a Book Sense 76 title. Despite the downbeat nature of Azzopardi's second novel, the publisher is sending the author on a 15-city tour, backed by a national advertising campaign, which should help ensure similar sales numbers. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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