In 1904, six-year-old Polly Flint is sent to live with her aunt in a house by the sea. Orphaned shortly thereafter, Polly will spend the next eighty years stranded in this quiet corner of the world as 20th century rages in the background. Throughout it all Polly returns again and again to the story of Robinson Crusoe, who, marooned like her, fends off the madness of isolation with imagination.
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"Companionable though it is, the novel lacks urgency; even when Polly speaks directly with Crusoe, they exchange tepid, truistic remarks about the nature of memory and fiction, memoir and imagination. Then he is gone and the tale ends as quietly as it began." - Publishers Weekly
"Although the novel lacks rousing action, much occurs on the emotional landscape. We know Polly intimately, and she haunts our imaginations as surely as Crusoe haunts hers." - Library Journal
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Novelist Jane Gardam was born Jean Mary Pearson in Coatham, North Yorkshire on July 11, 1928. She was educated at Saltburn High School for Girls and won a scholarship to the University of London, where she read English at Bedford College. In 1951 she worked as a Red Cross Travelling Librarian to Hospital Libraries, afterwards taking up editorial posts at Weldon Ladies Journal (sub-editor, 1952) and the literary weekly Time and Tide (Assistant Editor, 1952-4).
Her first book for adults, Black Faces, White Faces (1975), a collection of linked short stories about Jamaica, won both the David Higham Prize for Fiction and the Winifred Holtby Memorial Prize. Subsequent collections of short stories include The Pangs of Love and Other Stories (1983), winner of the Katherine Mansfield Award; Going ...
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"A gripping, timely, and important examination of American racism."
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