The Orchard on Fire (Virago Modern Classics)

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9780349007212: The Orchard on Fire (Virago Modern Classics)
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Set in the small English village of Stonebridge, the Orchard on Fire tells the story of eight-year-old April Harlency's coming-of-age in a place where the charm of the local landscape contrasts sharply with the predjuices and vagaries of the adult world. When April encounters the red-haired, energetic Ruby Richards, the two girls become fast friends. Together, they abandon the physical and mental abuse forced on them by adults in their lives and transform an abandoned railway car in an orchard into their secret hideaway, an idyllic camp of shared dreams.

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Review:

This intimate, intensely seen novel was shortlisted for the 1996 Booker Prize. Shena Mackay's six previous novels have won her critical admiration and a popular audience in England, but her work has not received due recognition in the United States yet. The Orchard on Fire is a concise, domestic novel set in the village of Stonebridge, where the parents of April Harlency have come in 1953 to run the local tea shop. April's private reveries and her entanglement with the grim family life of her best friend, Ruby Richards, fill up a vivid and dramatic year in the wonderfully distinctive life of Stonebridge.

About the Author:

Shena Mackay was born in Edinburgh in 1944. She left school at the age of 16 after winning a poetry competition in the Daily Mirror. Her first book, published in 1964 but written when she was still a teenager, consists of two novellas, Dust Falls on Eugene Schlumburger and Toddler on the Run. Her first novel, Music Upstairs (1965), is set in London in the early 1960s.

There was a break in her writing between the novel An Advent Calendar published in 1971 and the collection of short stories Babies in Rhinestones and Other Stories, published in 1983. The novel A Bowl of Cherries (1984) was published by Harvester Press, a small independent publisher in Brighton, on the recommendation of the novelist Iris Murdoch.

More recent novels include the black comedy Redhill Rococo (1986), winner of the Fawcett Society Book Prize; Dunedin (1992), which won a Scottish Arts Council Book Award; and the acclaimed The Orchard on Fire (1995), which is set in the early 1950s and tells the story of a young girl, April, living in a small village in Kent, who attracts the increasing attentions of Mr Greenidge, an older man. It was shortlisted for the Booker Prize for Fiction in 1996. The Artist's Widow (1998) is a satirical portrait of the contemporary London art world. Heligoland (2003), is the story of one woman's search for Utopia.

Collected Short Stories (1994), includes short stories from her three previous collections, Babies in Rhinestones and Other Stories (1983), Dreams of Dead Women's Handbags (1987) and The Laughing Academy (1993). The World's Smallest Unicorn and Other Stories was published in 1999.

Shena Mackay lives in London. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and also Honorary Visiting Professor to the MA in Writing at Middlesex University. Her latest novel is The Atmospheric Railway (2006).

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Shena Mackay
Published by Little, Brown Book Group, United Kingdom (2016)
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Book Description Little, Brown Book Group, United Kingdom, 2016. Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. What made the orchard miraculous was an abandoned railway carriage, set down as if by magic, its wheels gone, anchored by long grass and nettles. Ruby and I stared at it and each other . . . dark-windowed, out of place in a thicket of thorns, it was the perfect hide-out, house, the camp of our dreams When April s parents move from London to rural Kent she makes her first best friend. With flame-haired, fearless Ruby, April shares secrets, dares and laughter. But Ruby has secrets of her own -bruises that she hides.Also seeking April s friendship is old Mr Greenidge, immaculate in his linen suit, with eyes like blue glass. He follows her around the village with his beguiling dachshund, and wants to learn everything about her. Seller Inventory # AWC9780349007212

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Book Description Little, Brown Book Group, United Kingdom, 2016. Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. What made the orchard miraculous was an abandoned railway carriage, set down as if by magic, its wheels gone, anchored by long grass and nettles. Ruby and I stared at it and each other . . . dark-windowed, out of place in a thicket of thorns, it was the perfect hide-out, house, the camp of our dreams When April s parents move from London to rural Kent she makes her first best friend. With flame-haired, fearless Ruby, April shares secrets, dares and laughter. But Ruby has secrets of her own -bruises that she hides.Also seeking April s friendship is old Mr Greenidge, immaculate in his linen suit, with eyes like blue glass. He follows her around the village with his beguiling dachshund, and wants to learn everything about her. Seller Inventory # AWC9780349007212

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Book Description Virago Press Ltd. Condition: New. Many regard this as Mackay's masterpiece. A touching, funny novel about childhood in the 1950s: friendship, village life and lost innocence. Series: VMC. Num Pages: 224 pages. BIC Classification: FA. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 198 x 126. . . 2016. Paperback. . . . . Books ship from the US and Ireland. Seller Inventory # V9780349007212

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Book Description Virago Press Ltd, 2016. Condition: New. Many regard this as Mackay's masterpiece. A touching, funny novel about childhood in the 1950s: friendship, village life and lost innocence. Series: VMC. Num Pages: 224 pages. BIC Classification: FA. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 198 x 126. . . 2016. Paperback. . . . . . Seller Inventory # V9780349007212

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