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The Year of the Ladybird por Graham Joyce
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The Year of the Ladybird (edição 2014)

por Graham Joyce (Autor)

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15912135,557 (3.78)7
"Critically acclaimed author Graham Joyce returns with a sexy, suspenseful,and slightly supernatural novel set 1976 England during the hottest summer in living memory, in a seaside resort where the past still haunts the present. David, a college student, takes a summer job at a run-down family resort in a dying English resort town. This is against the wishes of his family because it was at this resort where David's biological father disappeared fifteen years earlier. But something undeniable has called David there. A deeper otherworldliness lies beneath the surface of what we see. The characters have a suspicious edge to them. David is haunted by eerie visions of a mysterious man carrying a rope, walking hand-in-hand with a small child, and the resort is under siege by a plague of ladybugs. Something different is happening in this town. When David gets embroiled in a fiercely torrid love triangle, the stakes turn more and more menacing. And through it all, David feels as though he is getting closer to the secrets of his own past. This is a darkly magic and sexy book that has a strong suspense line running through it. It's destined to continue to pull in a wider circle of readers for the exceptionally talented Graham Joyce"--… (mais)
Membro:pontheoldenguine
Título:The Year of the Ladybird
Autores:Graham Joyce (Autor)
Informação:Gollancz (2014), Edition: Digital original, 272 pages
Colecções:A sua biblioteca
Avaliação:
Etiquetas:Nenhum(a)

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The Ghost in the Electric Blue Suit por Graham Joyce

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Weird stuff out of the way... I just took note that this came out within fifteen days of Stephen King's [b:Joyland|13596166|Joyland|Stephen King|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1348154483l/13596166._SY75_.jpg|19185026]. And like Joyland, they both take place as a coming of age tale with a young man joining the seasonal help at an amusement park decades before today, with romance, somewhat dismissable supernatural elements, and very period political concerns.

Odd, right?

That being said, the quality of this particular novel was quite lulling and it evoked the whole sensation of this English bygone time that simmered with racial tensions and peculiar changing mores. Sex, scams, generally having a good time before college is the name of the game.

Hooking up with a woman with a domineering (rather abusive) boyfriend and running around without getting caught takes up most of the tale, and I have to admit... it's okay. It's gentle, amusing, and it takes no real chances. The skinhead convention definitely gave it good conflict fuel, but other than that... I've read much better, similar, tales... such as the one I mentioned in the first paragraph.

Still, it certainly wasn't bad and it might appeal very well for certain types of readers who prefer the comfort food of youthful nostalgia. ( )
  bradleyhorner | Jun 1, 2020 |
This was my 2nd Graham Joyce book (after Some Kind of Fairy Tale) and I really wanted to love it.

Not sure if it was the tedious 1st person narrative, or the flat characters, but I just didn't care too much for this one. Everything was barely okay.

Could even be passed off as a teen novel.

You won't miss much if you skip this one.

( )
  ADLutz | Jan 8, 2019 |
Another slice of Midlands life from Graham Joyce, this book draws heavily on Graham's own experience working as a holiday camp Redcoat in the year in question, 1976. For those unfamiliar with, or too young to remember, Britain in those days, 1976 was the year of the hottest summer in living memory, drought, a major infestation of ladybirds (ladybugs to US readers), the rise of far-right politics and the early stirrings of punk rock. All these things - well, perhaps not so much the music, but certainly some of dissatisfaction with the music scene that helped bring punk about - are thrown into the mix in this novel. The setting is a Skegness holiday camp; in the middle 1970s, the holiday camps, which were once major elements in the UK travel industry, were beginning their slow decline as mass overseas tourism began to take hold of the imagination. The market leader in this business was an entrepreneur called Billy Butlin; he is namechecked in the book, and the camp where Graham Joyce worked was one of Butlin's, with their infamous 'Redcoats' (many major British entertainers started their careers as Redcoats) , although the camp in the novel is a bit more downmarket than Butlin's. Skegness was (and still is) the preferred destination for a lot of holidaymakers from the East Midlands and south Yorkshire, and this is reflected in the voices of many of the minor characters in the novel. And being Graham Joyce, there is an element of the fantastic, in the form of a very personal ghost for the protagonist who keeps intruding on the real world.

We are pitched into the story very quickly, almost unduly quickly, without so much scene-setting as perhaps you'd find in some other of Graham's novels; but once the protagonist, David Barwise, arrives at the camp, we are soon introduced to the other characters and the setting. Many British readers will be there already, in any case, as this is familiar territory for a lot of readers; but you don't need to know Skegness to quickly pick up on the sense of place and the surroundings.

The plot proceeds apace, and David is quickly pitched into relationships with colleagues, a rapid finding of a facility for dealing with guests, especially children, and the continual interruption of the ghost from the past. David's accidental involvement with far-right politics puts him in a degree of peril, which combine with the confusion of his relationships and the personal ghost to bring him to a crisis, which is precipitated by a supernatural intervention from an unlikely source.

Two things stood out for me in this book: the authentic voice of the ordinary English Midlanders and, oddly enough, the factional nature of extremist politics in the UK. (My personal experience is of extreme parties of the left rather than the right, but all political parties share the curse of factionalism, and extremist parties of all colours experience this more.) As with so many of Graham's later novels, the sense of place is also very strong, not only with Skegness and its surroundings but also its geographical hinterland; it is not described in any detail, but there are sufficient clues given to allow any reader who knows the area, as I do, to vividly imagine the settings mentioned in the book.

There is a personal revelation which explains the ghost; it relates to a family secret. Having myself experienced a family secret and its eventual revelation, I understood that aspect of the plot and the characters' motivations.

There are a few failures of sub-editing (one character's car changes model in the course of a journey), and even the UK edition has a number of American usages that were not removed for the UK text when 'ladybirds' was retained instead of 'ladybugs' - "sticks of rock candy", for example, whereas the correct colloquial English use would just be "sticks of rock". But this is not too significant or intrusive.

I doubt that this will displace any of Graham Joyce's other novels in my personal list of favourites, but this book has much to recommend it as a picture of a particular place and time, and an individual's personal journey of discovery. ( )
1 vote RobertDay | Jun 6, 2016 |
This book is like the British version of Stephen King's 'Joyland.'
Joyce's writing is more elegant, spare and lyrical than King's, and he doesn't succumb to King's urge to add in a grand finale - which makes me personally, judge that this is a slightly better-crafted book - but the two are very, very similar. If you liked one, you will love the other.

A young man, a college student in the 1970's, takes a job at a past-its-prime summer resort, and discovers that he's great with kids. He learns the ropes, negotiates relationships with some sketchy co-workers, develops an attraction for an older woman, but through it all, is haunted by the ghosts of the past.

(All of the above applies to both books.)

Here, though, the 'ghost' is personal. The narrator, David, knows that his biological dad died in this resort town when he was three. His mom and stepdad refuse to talk about the circumstances, and he has a sort of vague hope of coming to some kind of closure by taking this job, even against his family's wishes.

In addition to his own issues, this summer David must figure out who he is and where his place is in life. A love triangle develops: he develops a thing for the married Terri, whom he suspects is abused. Simultaneously, the young and lovely Nikki sets her sights on him. Meanwhile, Terri's husband persistently tries to recruit him to the National Front. Not getting his ass kicked by Nazi skinheads is also a goal. The innocent holiday fun has a dark current - and some of these people may not draw the line at murder. As this is a certain type of resort, there's also a fortune-teller, a stage magician, an Italian Tenor, and any number of colorful but believable characters. Through it all, the feel of the book is nostalgic without being sentimental; the message one about the complexities of negotiating life's pitfalls.

Copy of this book provided by NetGalley. Much appreciation for the opportunity to be an early reader - as always, my opinion is my own. ( )
  AltheaAnn | Feb 9, 2016 |
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"Critically acclaimed author Graham Joyce returns with a sexy, suspenseful,and slightly supernatural novel set 1976 England during the hottest summer in living memory, in a seaside resort where the past still haunts the present. David, a college student, takes a summer job at a run-down family resort in a dying English resort town. This is against the wishes of his family because it was at this resort where David's biological father disappeared fifteen years earlier. But something undeniable has called David there. A deeper otherworldliness lies beneath the surface of what we see. The characters have a suspicious edge to them. David is haunted by eerie visions of a mysterious man carrying a rope, walking hand-in-hand with a small child, and the resort is under siege by a plague of ladybugs. Something different is happening in this town. When David gets embroiled in a fiercely torrid love triangle, the stakes turn more and more menacing. And through it all, David feels as though he is getting closer to the secrets of his own past. This is a darkly magic and sexy book that has a strong suspense line running through it. It's destined to continue to pull in a wider circle of readers for the exceptionally talented Graham Joyce"--

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823 — Literature English English fiction

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