First Aid (Hardback)
  • First Aid (Hardback)
Hardback Published: 12/08/2004
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In Janet Davey's highly acclaimed first novel English Correspondence, she mesmerised readers with the way she drew the most acute and complex observations about family life out of the simplest of stories. In her second, she demonstrates again a stunning ability to show how the families we come from, and the families we form, influence everything we do. Set in a seaside town on the Kent coast, First Aid takes place over one summer weekend. Jo's husband Peter has left her a couple of years previously to live with another woman, and she is now caring single-handedly for her teenage daughter, son and toddler. She just about makes ends meet by working in a local junk shop - a place where the objects that have given significance to other people's lives find themselves washed up in the bargain basket. A love affair with a man without family ties is just beginning to give her life new meaning when the man inexplicably lashes out at her and cuts her face. Jo's instinct is to pack hasty bags and, with three children in tow, take the train to London to stay with the grandparents who raised her. But, a few miles into the journey, her daughter jumps off the train and runs away. As we follow Jo's awkward attempts to explain things to her grandparents, and her daughter's uncomfortable nights on the junk shop floor, we gradually learn what led up to the attack - and how everyone would like to escape the ties that bind them and begin afresh. Mothers, daughters, wives, husbands, bachelors, pensioners, teenagers and lovers: the breadth of human experience conveyed between the covers of this short novel is astonishing.

Publisher: Vintage Publishing
ISBN: 9780701177362

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