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The events of Pietro Russell's life are told in 26 chapters. From A-Z each chapter is set in a different place and reveals a fragment of his story. As his memories flicker back and forth through time in his search for a resolution to the conflicts of his life, his story gradually unfolds...

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780099223214
ISBN-10: 009922321X
Format: Paperback
(198mm x 129mm x 18mm)
Pages: 288
Imprint: Vintage
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
Publish Date: 3-Jan-1998
Country of Publication: United Kingdom


US Kirkus Review » Britisher Faulks's first US publication: an observant, unpretentious, and moving story of a man's life to age 40. Recovering from wounds in Italy in 1944, Cpl. Raymond Russell meets - and falls in love with - a young girl named Francesca, who after the war becomes his wife and moves with him back to England. In 1950, the two have a son named Pietro, their only child, who 12 years later loses his beloved mother to cancer. From these beginnings, the novel unfolds, becoming the story of Pietro's life in 26 chapters, each named for its setting and arranged in alphabetical (but not chronological) order, starting, for example, with Anzio in 1944 (where Pietro's father was wounded and met Francesca), going on to Backley in 1950, where Pietro was born, from there to Colombo, Sri Lanka, in 1980, where Pietro is on a photographic assignment, then back to Dorking in England, where Pietro's mother dies in 1963, and so on. The alphabetic device is offered (partly) in homage to a provincial fellow soldier of Pietro's father's who was awed by travel and "said he wanted to spend a night in a place beginning with every letter of the alphabet before he died." If there's risk of the scheme becoming artificial, Faulks keeps the danger well at bay: his observant eye and intelligent voice easily and entirely captivate the reader, who follows Pietro from school in Fulham (1964) on through first love (Lyndonville, Vermont, 1971); from the pathos of a nervous collapse in Quezaltenango, Guatemala, (1974) on to the meeting of his wife-to-be in Ghent (1981); and from there through another decade of a sensitive and sometimes emotionally precarious life in which, say, descriptions of office politics and of a father's death can be, in their different ways, equally compelling and poignant. Life as it is - plain, human, real - made into the finest kind of art. (Kirkus Reviews)

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Author Biography - Sebastian Faulks

Sebastian Faulks was born in April 1953. Before becoming a full-time writer in 1991, he worked as a journalist. Sebastian Faulks's books include A Possible Life, Human Traces, On Green Dolphin Street, Engleby, Birdsong, A Week in December and Where My Heart Used to Beat.

Books By Author Sebastian Faulks

Where My Heart Used to Beat by Sebastian Faulks

Where My Heart Used to Beat

Paperback / softback, February 2017
Pistache Returns by Sebastian Faulks

Pistache Returns

Hardback, October 2016
Broken World by Sebastian Faulks

A Broken World

Paperback, November 2015
Week in December by Sebastian Faulks

A Week in December

Paperback / softback, October 2015