Canvey Island: A Novel

Front Cover
Other Press, 2006 - Fiction - 301 pages
9 Reviews
IT IS 1953 IN CANVEY ISLAND AND A STORM SURGE IS flooding the streets. Len and Aunt Violet are out dancing on the mainland, he in polished shoes with slicked hair, she in fur stole and long gloves. Back at home, Len’s wife Lily and their small son Martin fight to stay above the rising waters, waistdeep in a raging black torrent. When Lily’s foot is lodged beneath debris, she begs Martin to get help. This sight of his mother, ghostly in her drenched nightdress, is his last glimpse of her alive. Lily’s death is an unbearable rupture in Martin’s life that lets in a host of unwelcome developments, not least that of his father’s growing closeness to his flashy aunt Violet. When Martin goes off to Cambridge to study water engineering, he breaks all ties to Canvey Island and settles down with the bohemian feminist Claire, a rebellious vicar’s daughter. But when Claire takes her activism too far by taking their daughter to a peace camp rally, Martin drifts back to Canvey Island and into the arms of his teenage love. He finds himself drawn into his old world, its secrets and lies, its wounds and passions, its sacrifices and hopes. Profoundly moving and elegantly written, Canvey Island tells the story of changing times in post-war Britain through one family’s tragedy and loss.

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User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

For his third novel (The Colour of Heaven, 2003, etc.), British filmmaker and theater director Runcie chronicles the life and loves of an ordinary Englishman.Martin Turner is a mere child in 1953 when ... Read full review

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User Review  - 1crazycatlady - LibraryThing

I received this book as an early reviewers copy. I enjoyed getting to know the characters and glimpsing into their lives. It was not a great book, it was not an awful book. Having the characters tell ... Read full review

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About the author (2006)

James Runcie is the author of two previous novels, The Discovery of Chocolate and The Colour of Heaven. He is also an award winning filmmaker and theater director, and has scripted several films for British television.

His most recent film, J.K. Rowling . . . A Year in the Life, aired in the U.K. in December 2007. Runcie lives in Edinburgh with his wife and two daughters.

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