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Download Canvey Island fb2, epub

ISBN: 0747584079
Language: English
Publisher: FAIRMOUNT; Export Ed edition (2006)
Pages: 320
Category: Contemporary
Subcategory: Literature
Rating: 4.3
Votes: 631
Size Fb2: 1262 kb
Size ePub: 1438 kb
Size Djvu: 1854 kb
Other formats: mbr azw lit lrf

I know the fear of death is always with us but sometimes it can disappear for days.

I know the fear of death is always with us but sometimes it can disappear for days. You don’t think about it when your wife is coming to bed and she takes off her nightgown and you’re excited by her nakedness even if you have been married for a long time. You don’t think about it when your child gives you a smile that you know is meant only for you or when the sea is dead calm and you’re out fishing with no one to trouble you.

FREE shipping on qualifying offers. It is 1953 in Canvey Island and a storm surge is flooding the streets. Len and Aunt Violet are out dancing on the mainland.

James Runcie is a British novelist, documentary film-maker, television producer, theatre director, and Artistic Director of the Bath Literature Festival. Books by James Runcie. Mor. rivia About Canvey Island.

We gave false names, the levellers and suffragettes who had gone before us, women hidden from history: Elizabeth Lilburne, Mary Overton, Katherine Chidley and Milly Fawcett. I was Emily Davidson. I was Emily Davidson n the police took statements and asked for our professions we didn’t say we were schoolteachers or nurses or homemakers but that we were restorers of free speech, recoverers of liberty, servants of the people. We asked to be considered political prisoners but were refused. You have broken the la. These are not laws we recognise. We spent the night crammed into the cells.

It is 1953 in Canvey Island. Len and Violet are at a dance.

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Canvey Island begins on the night of the real 1953 flood of Canvey - an island of approximately 13,000 inhabitants located east of London on the Essex coast - that killed 58 people. Runcie tells the story in a sequence of first-­person recollections by the principal characters. A young boy, Martin, has been left at home with his mother while his father and his aunt go to a dance on the mainland. Shortly after he’s tucked in for the night, the waters rise - quickly and without warning.

James runcie series: The Grantchester Mysteries. The Discovery of Chocolate. Listen to books in audio format instead of reading. Sidney Chambers and The Forgiveness of Sins.

Find sources: "James Runcie" – news · newspapers · books · scholar · JSTOR .

Find sources: "James Runcie" – news · newspapers · books · scholar · JSTOR (May 2017) (Learn how and when to remove this template message). Runcie has written the novels Canvey Island (2006), The Discovery of Chocolate (2001), The Colour of Heaven (2003) and East Fortune (2009). This film was transmitted on 30 December 2007 by ITV and included in the Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince DVD as a supplement.


The first part of the book, when Martin was a child, was well and sensitively done. I trudged through the rest of the book. A big deal is made of Martin becoming a water engineer and is then dropped entirely. When he was grown and married I found him to be an entirely unsympathetic character. The changing viewpoint of the story didn't distract me so much as it, for me, somehow made the connections between the characters less real, even though what they had to say sometimes was realistic. I am not inspired to read any more of Runcie's books.
Well written but depressing outlook on life. We live, hurt ourselves and others, then die.
A good story.
The atmosphere of childhood is sensitively recreated in this story of a boy growing up in the 50s in Britain. In adulthood he understands how past events shaped his attitude to relationships and life.
I just didn't like this book.
This novel begins with tragedy, a seminal incident that alters the life of a young boy who loses his mother in the Canvey Island flood of 1953. The flood haunts the lives of those left behind when Lily drowns, separated from her son Martin as the rushing water swirls around them. But time wears away the most painful memories for characters that bear the fresh weight of that loss. Life goes on, the family adapting to Lily's death. Martin is most affected, forever doubting himself, wondering what he might have done differently. When the flood hits, mother and son are home alone, Lily's husband, Len, enjoying a few careless hours of dancing with her sister, Violet and his sister-in-law's shell-shocked husband, George, who watches distractedly from the sidelines.

These are not a people of means, with limited resources and imagination, class a great determinant in post-war Britain. Len and Vi address their own demons as the years pass, but it is Martin who suffers the scars of his early brush with nature's intransigence. Quiet and tentative, Martin carries the burden of that transformative memory, of his helplessness. Focused on his career as a water engineer, Martin seeks to avert other such tragedies, compelled to make up for past mistakes. Martin's ambivalence and difficulties with relationships are revealed in alternating chapters, a rogue's gallery of characters and motivations, Len, Violet, George, Martin's first serious girlfriend, Linda and his feminist wife, Claire, a vicar's daughter. Reacting to the vast social changes of the era, Martin is caught between his history and an England reeling from the rebellious 60s to the banal 80s.

Runcie captures the uneasy aftermath of tragedy, the personal reactions of survivors in a stark portrait of simple people flummoxed by a random and irreversible act of nature. Beginning with the night of the flood, the author burrows deeply into the psyches of his characters, particularly Martin, their all-too-human reactions and self-justifications, the boy's confusion and horror at the reality of his loss. In a contrast of character, social class and aspirations, Canvey Island mirrors society at large, a drama of love, loss and a need to make peace with a lifetime of mistakes. And like life, what begins with sturm und drang ends with the quiet acquiescence of man vs. fate. It is time's attrition that Runcie captures best, a social commentary revealing an intimate acquaintance with human nature and its flaws. Luan Gaines/2009.
James Runcie's Canvey Island is a quiet, thoughtful work of fiction that shows how the character of average people is shaped by the most difficult circumstances of their lives, much like the battered British coastline, which his protagonist tries so desperately to preserve, is inevitably worn away by the ravages of the sea.

As a young boy, Martin witnesses his beloved mother's death by drowning in a terrible flood on their island home. His father Len, in the meantime, is out dancing on the mainland with Martin's floozy aunt Violet and her husband George, a man who lost his sanity during a grisly battle in WWII. As an adult, Martin becomes a water engineer, studying England's rugged shore in hopes of understanding, containing and controlling the very sort of catastrophe that took his mother from him.

The book is written in short chapters narrated by all the principle characters - Martin, Len, Violet and George, as well as the two women in Martin's life - his first love, Linda, and his wife, Claire. It's an ingenius method of storytelling that allows readers to get everyone's viewpoint, and in their own words. And while some characters, most notably Aunt Violet, at the outset seem irredeemable, by the end of the book their rough edges are worn as smooth as the sea stones lovingly collected by art student Linda. They are like the malleable shoreline continually battered by the relentless seas, victims of their own experiences and, as their past is revealed to us, the characters become more human, easier to understand, somewhat likeable and, in certain respects, even quite valiant.

Some critics were exasperated by the protagonist Martin because they found him to be too passive. For me, this was a large part of the book's fascination and most certainly its main point - that humans, by our very nature, are reactive more often than we are proactive. Martin, like the other characters, has been shaped by the events of his life. And his attempts to break free prove mostly futile. Particularly in light of the fact that what he's trying to escape is the inevitability of decay and death. After his wife, Claire, goes off on a lengthy, women-only protest against the installation of missiles silos in the UK, he drifts back into an affair with Linda, his high school sweetheart. But ultimately, he hasn't the fortitude to choose between the women and instead takes the path of least resistance, breaking Linda's heart once more. A similar choice, we later learn, to the one made by his Aunt Violet so many years earlier.

Runcie has created a loving portrait of post-war England and her people, worn down after the battering of WWII. As the story progresses, and he slowly reveals their secrets, each of his characters acquires the burnish and richness of authenticity and all of them win our sympathies utterly. A truly rewarding read.

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