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On a weekend in late summer, Jo is fleeing to London with her children when, a few miles into the journey from the Kent coast, her teenage daughter jumps off the train. Since Jo's husband left her, she has been caring single-handedly for her three children, working in a junk shop to make ends meet. A new love affair was just beginning to give her life meaning until the man inexplicably lashed out at her. Jo's instinct was to pack hasty bags and head to her family in London. As we follow Jo's attempt to cope with the repercussions of her daughter's action we gradually learn what led up to the attack from her lover, and begin to understand how desperately each of them would like to escape the ties that bind and begin afresh.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780099469643
ISBN-10: 0099469642
Format: Paperback
(197mm x 129mm x 12mm)
Pages: 192
Imprint: Vintage
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
Publish Date: 4-Aug-2005
Country of Publication: United Kingdom


US Kirkus Review » A fractured family deals with both a mother's and a daughter's need to run away.Several years after her husband has left her for another woman, Jo packs up her three children and heads from Brighton to the London home of her grandparents, Dilys and Geoff, who raised her. But during the trip, while Jo is busy with rambunctious toddler Annie and reliable son Rob, sullen teenager Ella jumps from the train and runs away. As unthinkable as it seems, Jo does not panic, stop the train or even cancel her trip, but rather presses onward to London, telling Dilys and Geoff that Ella has simply opted to stay with her father. Back in Brighton, Ella guiltily skulks around, squatting in her family's abandoned apartment, dropping in on her father and his new wife and spending time with friends. What she really seems to be doing is waiting for her mother's boyfriend, Felpo; it was after a violent fight with him, when he accused her of sleeping with another man, that Jo decided to run away to London. Actually, Ella admits to Felpo, she made up the stories about Jo and her friend Trevor that sparked his jealousy. When Ella reunites with her father, Jo and her ex-husband must come together to try to pick up the pieces and build a more stable life for Ella and her younger siblings. Davey successfully uses the mundane details of daily life to conjure a drab and often unpleasant domestic setting. But no matter how miserable the family relationships, it's difficult to accept Jo's casual reaction to her daughter's potentially tragic disappearance. Unbelievable and unlikable characters undermine a well-developed setting. (Kirkus Reviews)

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Author Biography - Janet Davey

Janet Davey is the author of English Correspondence, which was longlisted for the 2002 Orange Prize, First Aid, The Taxi Queue and By Battersea Bridge. She lives in London.

Books By Author Janet Davey

Another Mother's Son by Janet Davey

Another Mother's Son

Paperback, August 2016
By Battersea Bridge by Janet Davey

By Battersea Bridge

Paperback, May 2013
Taxi Queue by Janet Davey

The Taxi Queue

Paperback, August 2008
English Correspondence by Janet Davey

English Correspondence

Paperback, February 2004