A House for Alice: From the Women’s Prize shortlisted author of Ordinary People

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A House for Alice: From the Women’s Prize shortlisted author of Ordinary People

A House for Alice: From the Women’s Prize shortlisted author of Ordinary People

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It's a shame as I think the opening mischaracterises the general thrust of the novel and might be off-putting to some readers. I highly recommend this novel to everyone, as it offers a powerful and timely exploration of the human experience. The novel is a memorial to the dead of Grenfell who appear throughout the novel, and an invitation to be more conscious, to drag ourselves out of complacency, or complicity.

In the early hours of June 14, 2017, the world watches as flames leap up the sides of a residential high-rise in West London, consuming Grenfell Tower and many of the lives within it. With rich characters and a particular dynamic only families have with each other, I found myself engrossed in their decisions following their father’s death. It is rare for me to be so deeply moved by a book, a book that puts feelings into words, feelings which I’ve never been able to clearly express myself. This books portrays how we all have several sides to us and shows us how we pick and choose what we want to show depending on who we’re with. It’s a smaller, altogether more private fire that galvanises A House for Alice, however, one that breaks out on that same hot June night in 2017 and causes a forgetful old man, Cornelius, to succumb to smoke in the home where he once tyrannised his Nigerian wife and their three daughters.It was shortlisted for the Whitbread First Novel, the Guardian First Book, the Commonwealth Best First Book and the Times/Southbank Show Breakthrough awards, and nominated for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award.

A House for Alice is a story told in lyrical prose of love, loss, and the loneliness of people struggling to find a home/a place where they belong. The book’s eponymous matriarch has a habit of coming to a standstill while conversing with her friend on the stroll back from church: “forwardness occasionally distracted”, she and Evans both seem to find. Over the ensuing months the family contends with a range of disputes stemming from and running alongside this development. I got bored at about 4 hours and could no longer remember the various characters and how they related to the fire and the death of one person. Adel is dismayed at the thought of Alice leaving London and her children and grandchildren behind to live alone in Nigeria while Carol thinks they should respect their mother's wishes.This book is both political and beautiful, grounded in real world events but it also reads like a poem. There are several characters we need to keep track of, and it is often difficult to keep note of how they are related to one another. The book has an interesting start tying together the disaster of Grenfall and a fire at the same time in the house of an elderly man who lives alone. The novel is a study of identity, race, belonging, the collapse of society and incompetence of contemporary politicians. Her plan drives the novel, causing profound rifts among her daughters, who feel varyingly let down by her failure to shield them from their father in childhood.

Circling around the wife of the late Cornelius Pitt, we follow her journey to escape her current life to live out her remaining days in Nigeria. The book seems to announce that the story’s dramatic tension will be about Alice’s question of whether to leave Britain or not, but this is just its first trick. A HOUSE FOR ALICE is an interesting and intimate glimpse into one family’s turmoil on the heels of the sudden loss of a husband and father. She is such a dynamic character and the author does a great job showing her conflicted feelings toward her life in the UK and her relationship with her daughters and husband.The 103 third parties who use cookies on this service do so for their purposes of displaying and measuring personalized ads, generating audience insights, and developing and improving products. Khadija Saye and Mary Mendy, among others, haunt these pages as two or three fictional warring families try to find their way to happiness.

Their push-and-pull dynamic over the years reflects the struggles faced by many in a society that perpetuates inequality. There are references to current affairs too – the Windrush scandal, Harry and Meghan’s wedding, the “doomful cloud of Boris Johnson”. Now that Cornelius has died, Alice is wondering if her time to leave England has arrived, despite her children’s disapproval. Perhaps her death, as well as her life, would be a disagreement of place, and once you have left you can never really go back. I loved the emotionally-charged writing and the complicated depictions of relationships (parents, children, siblings, spouses, friends and lovers) in turmoil and conflict (and some few but transcendent moments of joy).I have so much rage and frustration inside me because of it, and it takes so much energy, to be dodging all the time, downplaying, pretending it’s fine. Evans' style is sophisticated and the emotional geography of her novel is complex - without realising, as I read I was drawn into this family's quirks, bickering, wrong turns, kindnesses and tragedies and I might have been chatting with friends it was so real, recognisable. Her children are divided on whether she stays or goes, and in the wake of their father's death, the imagined stability of the family begins to fray. I’ve been thinking about this, how other people can carry parts of you through the world and you only get to live those parts of yourself when you’re with those people.



  • Fruugo ID: 258392218-563234582
  • EAN: 764486781913
  • Sold by: Fruugo

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