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On Chapel Sands: My mother and other missing persons (Paperback)
  • On Chapel Sands: My mother and other missing persons (Paperback)
  • On Chapel Sands: My mother and other missing persons (Paperback)
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On Chapel Sands: My mother and other missing persons (Paperback)

On Chapel Sands: My mother and other missing persons (Paperback)

(author)
£9.99
Paperback 320 Pages
Published: 02/04/2020
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Waterstones Says

Shortlisted for both the Rathbones Folio Prize and the Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction, Laura Cumming’s singular memoir was one of the most critically acclaimed books of 2019. A deeply moving story of family and community that is striking and unforgettable, On Chapel Sands is part-true crime narrative, part-investigation into the subjectivity of memory and part-witness to a vanishing provincial way of life.

Shortlisted for the Costa Biography Award 2019

Waterstones Non-Fiction Book of the Month for April 2020

Shortlisted for the Rathbones Folio Prize 2020

Shortlisted for the Baillie Gifford Prize 2019

Uncovering the mystery of her mother's disappearance as a child: Laura Cumming, prize-winning author and art critic, takes a closer look at her family story.

In the autumn of 1929, a small child was kidnapped from a Lincolnshire beach. Five agonising days went by before she was found in a nearby village. The child remembered nothing of these events and nobody ever spoke of them at home.

It was another fifty years before she even learned of the kidnap. The girl became an artist and had a daughter, art writer Laura Cumming. Cumming grew up enthralled by her mother's strange tales of life in a seaside hamlet of the 1930s, and of the secrets and lies perpetuated by a whole community.

So many puzzles remained to be solved. Cumming began with a few criss-crossing lives in this fraction of English coast - the postman, the grocer, the elusive baker - but soon her search spread right out across the globe as she discovered just how many lives were affected by what happened that day on the beach - including her own.

On Chapel Sands is a book of mystery and memoir. Two narratives run through it: the mother's childhood tale; and Cumming's own pursuit of the truth. Humble objects light up the story: a pie dish, a carved box, an old Vick's jar. Letters, tickets, recipe books, even the particular slant of a copperplate hand give vital clues. And pictures of all kinds, from paintings to photographs, open up like doors to the truth.

Above all, Cumming discovers how to look more closely at the family album - with its curious gaps and missing persons - finding crucial answers, captured in plain sight at the click of a shutter.

Publisher: Vintage Publishing
ISBN: 9781784708634
Number of pages: 320
Weight: 277 g
Dimensions: 198 x 129 x 24 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS

Memoir of the Year* How we see -- and who see and what secrets they choose to share -- is at the heart of this exquisitely composed memoir... A peerless detective story that keeps you guessing to the end - The Sunday Times

On Chapel Sands is much more than a search for truth. It is a moving, many-sided human story of great depth and tenderness, and a revelation of how art enriches life. In short, a masterpiece - John Carey, Sunday Times

Cumming skilfully withholds key twists in the tale, revealing them at just the right moment. There are surprises, but no shocks. Her prose is too elegant for such gaudiness – composed and restrained but empathetic - Leaf Arbuthnot, The Times

Brilliant... This book is a love letter to her [Cumming's] mother, whose warmth, articulacy and survival instincts shine though. It's also an intimate portrait of a village community, with its storybook characters (butcher, baker, dairyman, bell-ringer, gravedigger) and their wonderful old-fashioned names - Blake Morrison, Guardian

By turns beautiful, wistful, and ominous… the reasons behind the kidnap, and the repurcussions, are every bit as complex as any served up by fiction, and, oddly enough, the dénouement -- or succession of dénouements -- is just as satisfying, perhaps more so... a meditation on the way some people disappear, and time erases memory... so familiar as to be universal, and will probably ring bells with all but the sunniest reader ( Five Stars) - Craig Brown, Mail on Sunday

Laura Cumming on On Chapel Sands

Description

Laura Cuming shares one of the family photographs that proved crucial in unearthing more about her family history and her mother's disappearance.

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“Fascinating Book.”

This is a fascinating story. A true story told by Laura Cumming the author, as she tries to unravel the mystery surrounding her mother's past.
In 1929 a mother and small child enjoy an afternoon on a beach,... More

Hardback edition
Helpful? Upvote 93

“Intriguing”

This is a fascinating story. The events depicted are built around the real life events of her mother’s early life. It is a slow read and at times disjointed but this reflects the unraveling of this complicated... More

Hardback edition
Helpful? Upvote 79

“A fascinating family mystery”

All families have their stories and Laura Cumming knew that her mother had disappeared for 5 days when she was a young girl. But nobody had ever spoken of the details of her kidnap, who had been responsible or why.... More

Paperback edition
Helpful? Upvote 75

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