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Grace and Mary

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Grace and Mary

By Melvyn Bragg

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Format: Paperback, 256 pages
Published In: United Kingdom, 13 March 2014
Reaching from late 19th-century Cumbria to the present, this elegiac novel celebrates two spirited women: Grace, a farm labourer's daughter who fatefully followed her heart, and Mary, the child she was forced to give up. Unsung heroines according to Mary's son who, as his elderly mother's mind begins to fail, lovingly recreates their lives and the vanished country of their pasts, linking three generations in a chain of enduring love, loss and courage.

Promotional Information

By 'quite simply one of the best writers we have' (Sunday Telegraph), a profoundly moving story spanning three generations.

Promotional Information

By 'quite simply one of the best writers we have' (Sunday Telegraph), a profoundly moving story spanning three generations.

About the Author

Melvyn Bragg is a writer and broadcaster. His novels include The Hired Man, for which he won the Time/Life Silver Pen Award, Without a City Wall, winner of the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize, The Soldier's Return, winner of the WHSmith Literary Award, A Son of War and Crossing the Lines, both of which were longlisted for the Man Booker Prize, A Place in England, which was longlisted for the Lost Man Booker Prize, and most recently Grace and Mary. He has also written several works of non-fiction, including The Book of Books about the King James Bible. He lives in London and Cumbria.


This is memoir in the guise of fiction, and Melvyn Bragg unveils his mother's and grandmother's lives in a way that will live long in the memory. The small Cumbrian town of the writer's youth is vividly evoked, as are the beauty of the scenery and the rich and varied history of that northwestern English county. What stands out most, though, is the loving and respectful way the two brave women at the heart of Bragg's story are brought to life. * Irish Times * Bragg's high-profile TV presence has tended to distract from his literary achievements, but this understated tale of three Cumbrian generations is one of his most heartfelt works. * Mail on Sunday * A beautiful, tender novel that evokes the spirit of Thomas Hardy while dealing with the very relevant issue of dementia. Highly recommended. * Weekly Review, Australia * A complex and absorbing meditation on time and memory, made all the more poignant by its refusal to succumb to the temptation of wearing its heart on its sleeve. * Clare Morgan * A little masterpiece. With infinite skill and tenderness he has homed in upon a crucial, contemporary dilemma - the problem of ageing parents with dementia - and has produced a life-affirming work packed with wisdom, insight and profound observations about the human condition. * Val Hennessy * I loved it. It's a great achievement to have brought these women so tenderly, compassionately, warmly and respectfully to life * Pat Barker * In a contemporary literary landscape of middlebrow experimentalism and over-hyped, over-long soap operas, a Bragg novel will usually remind you of fiction's traditional virtues: plot, psychology, carefully observed descriptions of landscape and people, a thoughtfulness about the passage of time and the damage done by history. The book feels deeply personal; but it moves us, as the best fiction does, because of its universality. It is a rich book and a thoughtful one . . . A remarkable performance. -- Kevin Power * Sunday Business Post, Ireland * A beautiful book, elegant, restrained and full of nuanced meditations on the nature of identity -- Julia Molony * Independent on Sunday * Beautifully conveys how the past is a continuum that constantly feeds our consciousness of the present, altering its current and direction. It is starkly truthful about the perils of ageing. But it is also a convincing testimony to familial love, and its power to prompt the imagination in the service of a more generous understanding . . . It is a gem. -- Salley Vickers * Independent * The novel's multiple narratives are skilfully teased out from John's attempts to prolong meaningful life for his mother by stimulating her failing memory . . . For each generation, Bragg suggests, a key component of the quest is coming to terms with the past - a feat that his quietly intense novel pulls off with joy, sorrow and precision. -- David Grylls * The Sunday Times * Bragg's detailed evocation of the Wigton of his youth, the people that lived there, the beauty of the Cumbrian scenery, the lively sense of the region's long and varied history, is delightful. It's a novel that deserves to be read slowly, the details cherished. -- Allan Massie * The Scotsman *

EAN: 9781444762372
ISBN: 1444762370
Publisher: Sceptre
Dimensions: 19.7 x 13.2 x 1.8 centimetres (0.18 kg)
Age Range: 15+ years
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