My Real Children

My Real Children

3.77 (4,996 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author) 

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The day Mark called, Patricia Cowan's world split in two.

The phone call.
His question.
Her answer.
A single word.

It is 2015 and Patricia Cowan is very old. `Confused today' read the notes clipped to the end of her bed. Her childhood, her years at Oxford during the Second World War - those things are solid in her memory. Then that phone call and...her memory splits in two.

She was Trish, a housewife and mother of four.
She was Pat, a successful travel writer and mother of three.

She remembers living her life as both women, so very clearly. Which memory is real - or are both just tricks of time and light?

My Real Children is the story of both of Patricia Cowan's lives - each with its loves and losses, sorrows and triumphs, its possible consequences. It is a novel about how every life means the entire world.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 336 pages
  • 128 x 197 x 22mm | 266g
  • Corsair
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1472115635
  • 9781472115638
  • 55,758

Review quote

In her greatest novel, George Eliot attributed the growing good of the world to the actions of ordinary people, to which Jo Walton responds in My Real Children, 'What if?' -- Sherwood Smith My Real Children has as much in common with an Alice Munro story as it does with, say, Philip K. Dick's The Man in the High Castle ... Good novels show us a character's destiny as an expression of who they fundamentally are. What most novels do only once, My Real Children does twice. -- Lev Grossman * Publishers Weekly * A wonderfully absorbing book about how one woman's decision can change the course of history. The characters are very real, the plot as complex as origami, the theme timeless. I lost sleep reading it, and dreamed about it when I did sleep. -- Delia Sherman Breathtakingly good! I really didn't want it to end, but I had to keep turning pages to see how it came out. A novel for grown-ups, even ones who think they 'don't like science fiction. -- Ellen Kushner Lyrical and brilliant. Jo Walton takes "What If" to a new level. -- Ellen Klages In My Real Children, there is a dizzying array of astonishments unfolding, a Chinese box of surprises. Once started, it is extraordinarily difficult to put this book down, even for dinner, even for bed. -- Jane Yolen My Real Children is the rarest sort of novel - one that transcends genre. It is a book that, one surmises, will be eagerly reread as the years pass. * Quill & Quire (starred review) * As an old woman, Patricia tells her story through the haze of deepening dementia - perhaps . . . The result is two period dramas for the price of one, told through the science fictional conceit of alternate realities. But it does a disservice to this powerful novel to focus overmuch on its structure or categorization . . . Rendered with Walton's usual power and beauty . . . The alternate-history elements grow stronger as the stories progress, yet it's this haunting character complexity that ultimately holds the reader captive to the tale. * New York Times * My Real Children starts quietly, then suddenly takes you on two roller-coaster rides at once, swooping dizzily through a double panorama and ending in a sort of super Sophie's Choice. A daring tour de force. -- Ursula K. Le Guin Such a wise book, about sweetness in sorrow, without any sentiment... It's easy to write a sad book, but this one uplifts and sweetens even as it tears your heart to pieces. Astounding work, even by Walton's incredibly high standards. * Cory Doctorow *
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About Jo Walton

Jo Walton comes from Wales but lives in Montreal, where the food and books are much better. She writes science fiction and fantasy, reads a lot, talks about books, and eats great food. She plans to live to be ninety-nine and write a book every year.
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Rating details

4,996 ratings
3.77 out of 5 stars
5 27% (1,343)
4 37% (1,851)
3 25% (1,256)
2 8% (402)
1 3% (144)
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