Jennifer Lash Blood Ties

ISBN 13: 9780747529453

Blood Ties

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9780747529453: Blood Ties
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Violet Farr regretted that at her son's birth she had insisted that he be named after her father, Lumsden. With her passion for control, Violet was even maddened by the boy's ugly unruly ears. Aged seven, Lumsden unnerved his mother by exclaiming, "You've got tigers in your teeth mummy."

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About the Author:

Jennifer Lash wrote her first novel, The Burial, at the age of 23 in 1961, and this was followed by four more during the next twenty years. She married Mark Fiennes and with their six children they moved between Ireland and England. In 1986 she learned she had cancer and, after a painful operation, embarked on a solitary pilgrimage through France to Santiago de Compostela, a journey about which she wrote in her book On Pilgrimage. Throughout her illness she continued to write, leaving Blood Ties, perhaps her finest work, behind. She died in 1993.

From Kirkus Reviews:

A Lawrentian richness of event and language mark this final novel by Lash (From May to October, 1981, etc.), who died in 1993. Here, as in Lash's five other novels, is a fascination with the often painful and always complex dynamics of family life and the ways families can both damn and save people. Dominating the story is the flinty, Anglo-Irish, intensely proper Violet Farr, who lives with her odd, diffident husband Cecil in Tipperary, where she struggles to keep up appearances and maintain a ramshackle Mansion. Violet tolerates Cecil's presence as long as he makes few demands (``the hall barometer was his only real possession'') and keeps his homosexuality hidden. Unsurprisingly, their son Lumsden, the result of an infrequent coupling, is a disappointment to Violet, both too needy and too quietly defiant. Hes sent off to boarding school, and when he returns home at age 17, its no great shock to Violet that he has an uncontrolled taste for alcohol and a suspiciously intense interest in younger girls. Uncovered in compromising circumstances by the local priest (himself uncomfortably aroused by what he witnesses), Lumsden is packed off for good, and for some years Violet's rigidly plotted life follows its usual courseuntil its disrupted and then altered forever by the arrival of eight-year-old Spencer, the profoundly unhappy offspring of Lumsden and a hapless barmaid. Violet suspects the worstSpencer is, after all, his father's childand when circumstances suggest his guilt in a disturbing incident, she banishes him just as she had his father. Tragedy follows, but, thanks to the efforts of some benign strangers, Spencer does gain a slender chance at happiness. Lash's determination to plumb the wayward psychology of her characters, and her belief in the pitiless influence of will and appetite on life, turn an otherwise unsurprising story into something strange and unsettling. Some may find the language rich and at times too hectic, but the power and originality of Lash's vision overrides the occasional rough spots. -- Copyright ©1998, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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Jennifer Lash
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