The Lovely Bones

The Lovely Bones

3.76 (1,618,870 ratings by Goodreads)
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My name was Salmon, like the fish; first name, Susie. I was fourteen when I was murdered on December 6, 1973. My murderer was a man from our neighborhood. My mother liked his border flowers, and my father talked to him once about fertilizer. This is Susie Salmon. Watching from heaven, Susie sees her happy, suburban family devastated by her death, isolated even from one another as they each try to cope with their terrible loss alone. Over the years, her friends and siblings grow up, fall in love, do all the things she never had the chance to do herself. But life is not quite finished with Susie yet ...The Lovely Bones is a luminous and astonishing novel about life and death, forgiveness and vengeance, memory and forgetting - but, above all, about finding light in the darkest of places. 'Spare, beautiful and brutal prose ...The Lovely Bones is compulsive enough to read in a single sitting, brilliantly intelligent, elegantly constructed and ultimately intriguing' The Times 'Moving and compelling ...It will put an imperceptible but stealthily insistent hold on you.I sat down in the morning to read the first couple of pages; five hours later, I was still there, book in hand, transfixed' Maggie O'Farrell, Sunday Telegraphshow more

Product details

  • Paperback | 336 pages
  • 130 x 196 x 24mm | 281.23g
  • Pan MacMillan
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Reprints
  • 0330485385
  • 9780330485388
  • 3,756

Review quote

'My name was Salmon, like the fish, first name, Susie I was fourteen when I was murdered on December 6, 1973. My murderer was a man from our neighborhood. My mother liked his border flowers, and my father talked to him once about fertilizer.'show more

About Alice Sebold

Alice Sebold is the author of the bestselling novels The Lovely Bones and The Almost Moon, and the memoir Lucky. She lives in more

Review Text

Sebold's debut novel is strikingly unusual from the start - it's narrated by a dead 14-year old girl. After her brutal murder, Susie Salmon watches her family collapse from a gazebo in her own personal version of heaven. Though she can have whatever she wants merely by thinking about it, all she really wants is impossible: to be alive, and to reciprocate the love from her friends and family still on Earth. Despite the grim premise, this story is an affirmation of life over death and how the living need the dead to anchor themselves to this world. There are no obvious surprises or twists: Susie describes her grisly death at the hands of the neighbourhood loner, George Harvey, at the very beginning of the book. From above, she cannot bear to give up her watch over her kith and kin, even occasionally breaking through the Inbetween to contact them briefly. Her face flashes in the shards of broken glass, her soul flutters past fellow schoolgirl Ruth, her love for her mother follows her despite her inability to come to terms with her grief. Meanwhile, her kith and kin struggle to come to terms with the lack of closure regarding Susie's death. Her father Jack needs to find her killer and over the years the obsession becomes banal, a background detail, like his wife's growing distance. Lindsey, her sister, throws herself into her books and her boyfriend, and practises being hard. Buckley, her little brother who was never told precisely why Susie went away and is never coming back, learns to turn his heart to stone. During this Susie is in their thoughts, words and actions, not knowing she is watching them. Sebold's plain prose is spotted with humour, partly because of rather than in spite of the subject matter. Black-clad Ruth writes poetry with titles like 'In Pieces' and 'The Lip of the Grave'. Her romanticism of a girl she hardly knew follows her into her escape to New York, where she roams the streets of Manhattan writing down details of killed and raped girls in dark alleys and corners. She manages to weave a connection with Susie in a way that would be impossible had she been alive. The suspension of reality is essential throughout, but some questions linger regardless. How did Jack just know from looking at the green house that George Harvey was the killer? Indeed, how could Harvey elude the law for so long? But despite these and other petty niggling doubts, this is a timeless tale of love and loss. (Kirkus UK)show more

Rating details

1,618,870 ratings
3.76 out of 5 stars
5 29% (464,303)
4 35% (568,287)
3 24% (395,750)
2 8% (128,879)
1 4% (61,651)

Our customer reviews

At the age of fourteen, Susie Salmon was raped and murdered by a man from her neighbourhood. Observing the world from her own heaven - which has its own playground, friendly companion and counsellor - she watches her family and friends cope with her untimely death whilst coming to terms with it herself. Over the years, she watches her parents fall apart, siblings grow up, fall in love, and doing all the things she did not have the chance to do. It's a bitter sweet tale about life, death, memories and the realisation that life should be lived to its very fullest. "The Lovely Bones" is a gripping and original tale about the dead and their memories in the living. Sebold's writing is charming and graceful, giving hope to a terrible tragedy. Having said that, I did find the book to be slow in some part and even boring - if I dare say (I know a lot of people love this book, ha). A recommended novel to all - perhaps not more
by Tran Nguyen
I started reading this after a friend recommended it to me and now I'm glad they did. At first I found it quite hard to 'get into' this book , especially the section involving the murder as it was quite descriptive.However despite initial problems I'm glad I continued reading as the book was well written - especially in the way Sebold showed the way Susie's family and Susie came to terms with her murder.Apart from a few things such as the 'possession' at the end the bookshow more
by L Porter
I loved this book - right up to a couple of chapters before the end. Until then I found it incredibly believable, empathetic and above all human. The way it addressed how each member of the family dealt with loss in their own way was so honest and touching. However, an incident towards the end of the book, and the ultimate justice served, I felt, let the rest of the book down. The standard of the writing was just as good and in any other context I'd have no problem with the scenarios involved but the characters were so real up to that point, the twist in the storyline wasn't needed and removed the believability. Despite that, still one of the best books I've read more
by Lorna Roberts
I know this novel but I haven't read it yet. I came to know a brief summary of it when a nun told us (as a group) about it. She was reading it that time and I find it interesting. Perhaps, Sarah Palin will agree with me that based from the reviews, this is a well-written more
by Fiona
"I would never normally read this type of book, but as I had had a foot op, my friend recommended it and due to sheer boredom gave it a go. I am so glad I did! Gripping story, although the description of the murder did only get a light skim over as it was very indepth. I cried so much, but loved it even more! Well worth a read."show more
by a Book Depository customer
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