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A Narrow Door

por Joanne Harris

Séries: St. Oswald's (3)

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1445187,015 (3.84)6
It's an incendiary moment for St Oswald's school. For the first time in its history, a headmistress is in power, the gates opening to girls. Rebecca Buckfast has spilled blood to reach this position. As the new regime takes on the old guard, the ground shifts. And with it, the remains of a body are discovered. Rebecca will bury the past so deep it will evade even her own memory, just like she has done before.… (mais)
Adicionado recentemente porbiblioteca privada, RoseMB, Bookbrained, jacko.cakes, GuildfordInstitute, TimForrest65, sarawalker, Eloise
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Mostrando 5 de 5
Slow-moving psychological-what-happened novel. Different timelines & two narrators - a man/parent/pupil disliking headmistress & a sick older teacher listening to her story. Yes, I was interested in finding out what had happened to the headmistress’s disappeared brother many years ago, but was alienated as the main characters were dreary, not likeable, mentally-suspect, & didn’t ask the obvious questions. ( )
  LARA335 | Mar 19, 2023 |
Joanne Harris’s latest novel, A Narrow Door, is a cunning psychological thriller with atmosphere to spare and a tricky puzzle of a plot that comes together quite cleverly in the end. The point of view goes back and forth between Buckfast and a venerable St. Oswald’s classics teacher, Roy Straitley. Straitley’s narrative appears as diary entries recording the increasingly disturbing story “La Buckfast” discloses to him over tea and biscuits as the novel unfolds. There is a braided timeline, with the story moving back and forth between 1989 when Buckfast is starting her teaching career and her family and the “present” of 2006. However, the mystery at the heart of the story dates back to Buckfast’s childhood and the disappearance of her brother Conrad.

There were a few moments when Buckfast’s repressed memories strain credulity and her emotions (or maybe Harris’s writing) are overwrought. Get on with it! But for the most part, Harris keeps the pacing steady and the pressure mounting right to the satisfying end. ( )
  RoseCityReader | May 2, 2022 |
A Narrow Door by Joanne Harris is a highly recommended psychological thriller.

After 500 years times are changing for the Yorkshire's St. Oswald's school. Rebecca (Price) Buckfast is the new and first headmistress and the school is now admitting girls. Even though Rebecca is barely 40, she has worked hard to obtain the position and she is going to prove her worthiness to everyone via her own rules, especially long-time classics teacher Roy Straitley. However, when several of Straitley's former Latin students tell him that they have discovered what might be a body in a muddy sinkhole where new construction is about to begin, he takes the matter to Rebecca.

What follows after this initial discovery is an unfolding tale of Rebecca/Becky's past and the present. The narrative moves back and forth in time following alternating time lines from 1989 and 2006. In 1989 the plot follows Becky's time as a new teacher, her family life, and her memories of her older brother Conrad, who disappeared at age fourteen when Becky was just five. She recounts her story over the length of the novel to Straitley. Her story is alternated with excerpts from Straitley's 2006 diary.

The narrative starts out very slowly which may be off-putting for some readers. Rest assured that if you stick with it you will adjust to the deliberate pacing of the story and the suspense and sense of dread will begin to intensify. Rebecca intimates dark secrets and disturbing events several times, even while causally mentioning her own intractable reactions to some events. Although this is book three of a series, I found no real difficulties in reading it as a stand-alone novel. Rebecca is an interesting character. It will be quite clear that she will tell the truth, as she recalls it, but this won't necessarily always reflect virtuous behavior.

The writing is excellent. The time period of each chapter is clearly marked, so you can follow events between the two timelines and the different characters. The novel is complex, well plotted and, after the slow start, the pacing evens out until it picks up at the end and reveals several new facts. The tension and unease build throughout the novel, making it more compelling as the plot unfolds. The final denouement was very satisfying.

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Pegasus Books.
https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/4414399316 ( )
  SheTreadsSoftly | Dec 27, 2021 |
It's all change at St Oswald's, centuries of tradition are thrown in the air as the new Head allows girls to enter the hallowed portals. Ms Buckfast is a new broom with strong ideas but with a few secrets of her own and Roy Straitley, venerable Classics master, clashes with her on many. However when his form discover a body newly uncovered by the builders creating a legacy swimming pool, her reaction surprises him. As Rebecca tells Roy her story, new light is shown on previous relationships and the true determination of a woman comes to the fore.
This is a terrific tale on so many levels. On the surface it is a simple crime thriller, a body is discovered and the who is it and whodunnit are the core of the book. However the psychological aspect is played well as the two main protagonists spar. The twist is no big twist but the cleverness of the ending is great as it leaves the door open (so to speak) for more. Harris has long been a brilliant writer and this book is no exception. ( )
  pluckedhighbrow | Nov 2, 2021 |
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It's an incendiary moment for St Oswald's school. For the first time in its history, a headmistress is in power, the gates opening to girls. Rebecca Buckfast has spilled blood to reach this position. As the new regime takes on the old guard, the ground shifts. And with it, the remains of a body are discovered. Rebecca will bury the past so deep it will evade even her own memory, just like she has done before.

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