White Oleander by Janet Fitch
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White Oleander
By Janet Fitch

White Oleander

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Format: Paperback

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White Oleander by Janet Fitch

Book Description

White Oleander is a painfully beautiful first novel about a young girl growing up the hard way. It is a powerful story of mothers and daughters, their ambiguous alliances, their selfish love and cruel behaviour, and the search for love and identity.Astrid has been raised by her mother, a beautiful, headstrong poet. Astrid forgives her everything as her world revolves around this beautiful creature until Ingrid murders a former lover and is imprisoned for life. Astrid's fierce determination to survive and be loved makes her an unforgettable figure. 'LIQUID POETRY' - Oprah Winfrey 'Tangled, Complex and extraordinarily moving' - Observer

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Book Details

ISBN: 9781860498046
ISBN-10: 1860498043
Format: Paperback
(199mm x 165mm x 25mm)
Pages: 400
Imprint: Virago Press Ltd
Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
Publish Date: 2-Nov-2000
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

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Books By Author Janet Fitch

Paint It Black by Janet Fitch Paint It Black, Paperback (October 2007)

This follow-up to Fitchs successful novel "White Oleander" presents a portrait of Josie Tyrell--a teenage runaway, an artists model, and an habitu of the '80s punk rock scene, where sex, drugs, and rock n roll inform her days and nights.

» View all books by Janet Fitch

Reviews

UK Kirkus Review » With an adored (unorthodox) mother, 12-year-old Astrid is used to poetry readings, tarot cards and lovers that never stay the night, and begins to understand why men are attracted to her mother's ethereal beauty, her pale skin, blonde hair and the trace of a Swedish accent. Their flat in Los Angeles is the centre of Astrid's world - until her mother is imprisoned for life for murder. Suddenly Astrid is a foster child, thrust into a totally changed reality of drugs, guns, suicide and dysfunctional families. Described by the publishers as a 'painfully beautiful first novel about a young girl growing up the hard way', this story of Astrid's fierce determination to survive is by turns moving, haunting, passionate and totally compelling. An unforgettable read. (Kirkus UK)

US Kirkus Review » A first-rate debut about a teenaged girl's arduous six-year journey of self-discovery. Astrid is 12 when her beloved mother, the poet Ingrid Magnussen, murders a former lover and is sent to jail. Her father long gone, Astrid ends up in foster care, moving through dysfunctional households across southern California. Only Claire Richards, actress wife of a wealthy TV producer, seems to offer a real family life as she nurtures Astrid's academic and artistic abilities. But the Richards home has deep emotional fissures, skillfully exploited by Ingrid, who keeps jealous watch over her daughter by letter. Weak, neurotic Claire succumbs, and Astrid's last foster home is a chaotic crash-pad overseen by a Russian immigrant engaged in various semi-legal hustles. Meanwhile, Ingrid has become a feminist cause clebere with naive young disciples and a media-savvy lawyer working to get her a new trial. The embittered Astrid wants no part of this effort, and in jailhouse confrontation challenges Ingrid to prove that she regrets her destructive role and will try to make amends for the hard times she's caused her daughter. Despite melodramatic plot twists, the foster homes provide a nicely eclectic panorama of late 20th-century American life and a revealing stage for Astrid's growth and personal struggles. She's an appealing protagonist, smart and vulnerable, though her formidable mother is even more intriguing, and the author brilliantly delineates the woman's complexity through her letters, which are masterpieces of epistolary voice and character development. Fitch displays remarkable artistic and psychological maturity throughout, skillfully making use of metaphors (like the beautifully poisonous oleander, Ingrid's signature flower) to illuminate her central theme: the longing for order and connection in a world where even the most intimate bonds can be broken in an instant. The author allows her protagonist to achieve adulthood, love, an artistic vocation, and some semblance of inner peace without scanting the scars she will always carry. Vigorous, polished prose, strong storytelling, satisfyingly complex characters, and thoughtfully nuanced perceptions: an impressive debut indeed. (Kirkus Reviews)


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Author Biography - Janet Fitch

Janet Fitch lives in Los Angeles, where she is working on her next novel.

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