The Greatcoat
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The Greatcoat

3.1 (2,320 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

NOW A RADIO 4 BOOK AT BEDTIME In the winter of 1952, Isabel Carey moves to the East Riding of Yorkshire with her husband Philip, a GP. With Philip spending long hours on call, Isabel finds herself isolated and lonely as she strives to adjust to the realities of married life. Woken by intense cold one night, she discovers an old RAF greatcoat hidden in the back of a cupboard. Sleeping under it for warmth, she starts to dream. And not long afterwards, while her husband is out, she is startled by a knock at her window. Outside is a young RAF pilot, waiting to come in. His name is Alec, and his powerful presence both disturbs and excites her. Her initial alarm soon fades, and they begin an intense affair. But nothing has prepared her for the truth about Alec's life, nor the impact it will have on hers ...show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 208 pages
  • 128 x 200 x 21mm | 240.4g
  • Cornerstone
  • Hammer
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0099564939
  • 9780099564935
  • 217,481

Review quote

"the best kind of ghostly tale - one that has you pondering its implications - and checking the back of dark cupboards - long after the final page" * i, Independent * "You won't find plastic fangs or Dulux blood in Helen Dunmore's perfect little ghost story ... Dunmore conveys a shivery menace and concealed tragedy; this is the most elegant literary flesh-creeper since Susan Hill's The Woman in Black." * The Times * "An atmospheric and accomplished ghost story." * Woman & Home * "This is a haunting and exquisitely crafted tale where the line between the real and the imaginary becomes blurred." * Glamour * "The Greatcoat is a well-written ghost story that observes the traditions of the genre without subsiding into pastiche ... Dunmore uses motifs and themes as a kind of Greek chorus ... these are subtly deployed, and enhance the atmosphere in this disturbing, thoughtful novel." * The Literary Review *show more

About Helen Dunmore

Helen Dunmore, born 12 December 1952, was an award-winning novelist, children's author and poet who will be remembered for the depth and breadth of her fiction. Rich and intricate, yet narrated with a deceptive simplicity that made all of her work accessible and heartfelt, her writing stood out for the fluidity and lyricism of her prose, and her extraordinary ability to capture the presence of the past. Her first novel, Zennor in Darkness, explored the events which led D. H. Lawrence to be expelled from Cornwall on suspicion of spying, and won the McKitterick Prize. Her third novel, A Spell of Winter, won the inaugural Orange Prize for Fiction in 1996, and she went on to become a Sunday Times bestseller with The Siege, which was described by Antony Beevor as a `world-class novel' and was shortlisted for the Whitbread Novel of the Year and the Orange Prize. Published in 2010, her eleventh novel, The Betrayal, was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize and shortlisted for the Orwell Prize and the Commonwealth Writers Prize, and The Lie in 2014 was shortlisted for the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction and the 2015 RSL Ondaatje Prize. Her final novel, Birdcage Walk, deals with legacy and recognition - what writers, especially women writers, can expect to leave behind them - and was described by the Observer as `the finest novel Helen Dunmore has written'. Helen was known to be an inspirational and generous author, championing emerging voices and other established authors. She also gave a large amount of her time to supporting literature, independent bookshops all over the UK, and arts organisations across the world. She died in June 2017.show more

Review Text

"The Greatcoat is a well-written ghost story that observes the traditions of the genre without subsiding into pastiche ... Dunmore uses motifs and themes as a kind of Greek chorus ... these are subtly deployed, and enhance the atmosphere in this disturbing, thoughtful novel."show more

Flap copy

In the winter of 1952, Isabel Carey moves to the East Riding of Yorkshire with her husband Philip, a GP. With Philip spending long hours on call, Isabel finds herself isolated and lonely as she strives to adjust to the realities of married life. Woken by intense cold one night, she discovers an old RAF greatcoat hidden in the back of a cupboard. Sleeping under it for warmth, she starts to dream. And not long afterwards, while her husband is out, she is startled by a knock at her window. Outside is a young RAF pilot, waiting to come in. His name is Alec, and his powerful presence both disturbs and excites her. Her initial alarm soon fades, and they begin an intense affair. But nothing has prepared her for the truth about Alec's life, nor the impact it will have on hers ... 'Everyone should read her work' Independent on Sunday 'Intensely gripping' Sunday Timesshow more

Back cover copy

A haunting story from a writer at the height of her powers. "In the dark she slid back the curtain again, and there he was. The street-lamp lit him and he raised his hand to the window again, but this time he didn't tap on it. He spread out his hand flat on the glass, all the while looking at Isabel. She clutched the coat to her. Her brain was still fogged with the noise of engines. She shook it, but the sound would not shake out. He was looking at her intently, waiting for something." 'An electrifying and original talent, a writer whose style is characterized by a lyrical, dreamy intensity' Guardianshow more

Rating details

2,320 ratings
3.1 out of 5 stars
5 9% (199)
4 24% (559)
3 41% (951)
2 21% (497)
1 5% (114)
Book ratings by Goodreads
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