Fitzgerald's Wood

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Jonathan Cape, 2005 - Fiction - 245 pages
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In the town of Wistful (about a thirty minute drive south of London) a young boy called Fitzgerald lives with his parents. His mother is strong and capable; she loves Bix Biederbecke and Cab Calloway. His father, a tall, lumbering, taciturn man with a passion for carpentry, is occasionally overcome by 'dark periods', which he survives with the help of a hot water bottle and a steady supply of barley water. Wistful is a peaceful town where the longings of the human heart bubble under the surface of suburban life. Fitzgerald is happy at school and at home but his concerns are anything but commonplace: where do all the silent letters go? what happens if you find yourself lost in 'the Hinterland'? and if you are only part African how do you know which part of you it is? Fitzgerald's life changes forever when his father is killed by a lorry on his way home from the timber yard. As Fitzgerald tries to decide, with the help of his 'nearest and dearest', where to inter his father's ashes, he finds himself struggling to understand who his father was and the nature of the burden that he seemed to carry throughout his life. With the help of a toothless, boiled-sweet eating bag-lady (who may well be an angel); his ghost-hunting uncle; the spirit of his dead father and a chorus of out of the ordinary neighbours, teachers and relations, Fitzgerald sets off on a journey to take his father 'home'. What he finds is both a divine revelation and a resounding affirmation. This highly original, coming-of-age story with its gallery of unforgettable characters explores questions of family, identity, ancestral memory and a man's place in the world. Rich with wonder and wisdom, Nwokedi's writing is graced with whimsical humour, magic and a deceptive lightness of touch.

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User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

A whimsical British first novel blends issues of adolescence, bereavement and mixed-race ancestry.Nwokedi's debut is set in Wistful, an imaginary South England town, in the recent and nostalgic past ... Read full review


St Rodericks
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About the author (2005)

David Nwokedi was born in Nigeria in 1965 to a Nigerian father and a British mother. He grew up in Newhaven and Brighton and worked as a social worker in London for ten years. Married with two children, he now lives in Brighton and is a Senior Social Worker. He is currently working on a second novel.

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