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Thelma is six years old. Life at home is unsettling and disturbing; her father's games are not enjoyable and her mother dotes on Willy, the favoured child. When her parents move to Canada, Thelma smuggles her imaginary friends with her in her suitcase. By turns harrowing and wonderfully funny, Mouthing the Words tells Thelma's story of sexual abuse, anorexia, borderline multiple personality disorder and her return to England. Reminiscent of Jeanette Winterson and Sylvia Plath, Mouthing the Words is a remarkable and inspiring fiction debut.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780099286585
ISBN-10: 0099286580
Format: Paperback
(198mm x 129mm x 15mm)
Pages: 256
Imprint: Vintage
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
Publish Date: 7-Feb-2002
Country of Publication: United Kingdom


UK Kirkus Review » To say this book is strange is an understatement. Luckily it is also beautiful, increadibly moving and at turns very amusing. Thelma tells her story from early childhood to adulthood; it is a horrific story of sexual abuse at the hands of her father, gradually illuminated through her thoughts and imaginings. As she moves between England and Canada, Thelma sinks deeper and deeper into mental illness. In her childhood this manifests itself as imaginary friends who at times take over her personality, blurring borders between the terrible reality and her strange but evocative imagination. The book's language is captivating and poetic, the characters are realistic, and the situations in which Thelma finds herself are heatbreaking, hilarious and always touching - often disturbing but justified. Thelma's monologues are at times reminiscent of Virginia Woolf and feminism is also a recurring theme. At times the language is verbose, and the images obscure, but this does not detract significantly from a brilliant novel. While reading it, anything else is an annoying distraction. (Kirkus UK)

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Author Biography - Camilla Gibb

Camilla Gibb was born in London and lives in Toronto. She is the author of several novels, including Sweetness in the Belly and The Petty Details of So-and-So's Life. She was one of the 21 young women writers included in the Orange Futures list of writers to watch in the 21st century.

Books By Author Camilla Gibb

Beauty of Humanity Movement by Camilla Gibb

The Beauty of Humanity Movement

Paperback, March 2011
Sweetness in the Belly by Camilla Gibb

Sweetness in the Belly

Paperback / softback, April 2007
Mouthing the Words by Camilla Gibb

Mouthing the Words

Paperback, January 2002