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Description - The Cupboard by Rose Tremain

When Erica March composes herself to die in a cupboard, she knows that Ralph Pears will find her. For at the age of 87, she had told the young journalist the richly colourful story of her life as novelist, political activist and, above all, lover, from childhood in Suffolk, Paris between the wars, to oblivion in post-war London. At the end of Ralph's patient probings only one secret remains: the mystery inside one constant object in her life - her cupboard.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780099284178
ISBN-10: 0099284170
Format: Paperback
(198mm x 129mm x 16mm)
Pages: 256
Imprint: Vintage
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
Publish Date: 2-Sep-1999
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

Book Reviews - The Cupboard by Rose Tremain

UK Kirkus Review » Erica is a writer, political activist and visionary, who at the age of 87 commits suicide - in a cupboard. She has told her life story to a young journalist whom she knows will be the one to discover her body. (Kirkus UK)

US Kirkus Review » A disappointing third novel from the author of Sadler's Birthday and Letter to Sister Benedicta: this time - with the life history of an 87-year-old writer of surreal allegorical novels - Tremain's meditative approach is merely static and her gift for imagery slides into the preciously bizarre. Erica March sees an omen pointing to her own death in the arrival of floundering, youngish US interviewer Ralph Pear - to whom she reminisces at length. A woman for whom "love sharpened her vision of everything she saw," Erica tells of her Sussex-farm childhood: the death of her mother (gored by a bull during meadow-sweet marital sex); the arrival of clay-born Gully, a Caliban with a twisted head; her imaginary friend "Claustrophobia," who teaches her not to be afraid of mother's death-connected cupboard. She goes on to London - staying with Uncle Chadwick, a Wildean playwright (with "the whitest legs I ever saw"), joining the suffragists to follow her first love: Emily Davison, soon the famed Suffragette suicide. Meanwhile, Erica's father weds rigid, scrubbed Eileen, who claims that "God appeared to her in a tin of Belgian sardines." And Erica, after turning down a marriage proposal (not for her "the silent swinging udders of the field, chewing our cud while the bulls rampage"), finds passion in Paris with surrealist artist Gerard - but gives up her own writing: "I lay curled up in Gerard's life like a piece of sand inside a mollusc. . . ." Gerard will be killed in Spain; writing will resurface; there's the war - and, during an eye operation, Erica's eye becomes "global," seeing all. Tremain interleaves Erica's talky confessions with excerpts from her novels (in which criminal males commit crimes in nightmare, viscera-hung landscapes). Ralph, himself corroded by symbolic physical pain, catches a hint of hope after Erica's death. Yet the interview/memoir format remains terribly claustrophobic here, and the over-rich prose ("Imagination's eye wound his heart with protective threads; his heart was a pupa left on a white leaf, left to unravel its own extraordinary metamorphosis on the breast of a virgin") is rather a strain. Too clever and showy by half. (Kirkus Reviews)


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Author Biography - Rose Tremain

Rose Tremain's bestselling novels have won many awards, including the Orange Prize (The Road Home), the Whitbread Novel of the Year (Music and Silence), the James Tait Black Memorial Prize and the Prix Femina Etranger (Sacred Country). Restoration was shortlisted for the Booker Prize in1989 and made into a film in 1995. Her short story, 'Moth', was also filmed (as the award-winning Ricky) by Francois Ozon in 2009. Her most recent novel, Trespass, was a Richard and Judy Bookclub Choice. Rose Tremain was made a CBE in 2007. She lives in Norfolk and London with the biographer, Richard Holmes.

Books By Rose Tremain

Sacred Country by Rose Tremain
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Restoration (Vintage Past) by Rose Tremain
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