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Description - The Bay of Noon by Shirley Hazzard

The scene is Naples, against whose ancient and fantastic background the modern action takes place. Among the protagonists is Jenny, young and pretty, who has come to Naples in flight from a sombre drama, unaware that a larger drama waits her there. She has an introduction to a Neapolitan woman, and one day she idly follows it up. This is her leap through the looking glass.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9781860494543
ISBN-10: 1860494544
Format: Paperback
(196mm x 132mm x 13mm)
Pages: 192
Imprint: Virago Press Ltd
Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
Publish Date: 2-Jul-1998
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

Book Reviews - The Bay of Noon by Shirley Hazzard

UK Kirkus Review » Mellow and elegaic, this bittersweet novel is suffused with a grace that captivates, its tone wistful as the narrator remembers the time that she spent in Italy many years earlier. Jenny, fleeing from a difficult family situation in Africa, was unaware that a greater emotional drama that lay ahead of her there. Set against the spectacular backdrop of contemporary Naples, the city becomes a pivotal character in the story, dominating the human drama. Charting the nuances of love, this is a novel that intertwines the personal and topographical to memorable effect. (Kirkus UK)

US Kirkus Review » "These things aren't orderly, or precipitate, like stories." Certainly Miss Hazzard cannot be referring to her own (the collection The Cliffs of Fall or her previous novel, Evening of the Holiday). This book, the finest she has written, which may seem like a supererogatory statement to begin with, isn't orderly - rather it is a casual approximation of feelings, sensations, insights, remembered fitfully and appraised more accurately some years after the events in question. The setting, for the most part, is Naples, that city of catastrophe with its "extremes of destitution, of civilisation," and once again her Italian backgrounds are marvelously pictorial, almost palpable. Positioned there with NATO is Jenny, also to a degree a victim of her past (the Blitz, South Africa, and a tertiary role in the household of her married brother to whom she was too close). Now, with a letter of introduction to the charming Gioconda, she is once more an intermediary in Gioconda's precarious relationship with a lover although Jenny is at first unaware of the supplementary role she plays. Vis-a-vis Gioconda and her Gianni, a filmmaker - belittling, overbearing, self-indulgent and faithless, in many of Miss Hazzard's stories and the earlier novel, she has been only too aware of the impermanence of love, and premonitory intimations of its loss heighten the intensity. There are many equivocal shifts here - all a part of this happier, sadder and unresolved past which ends with the enigma of another Gioconda's smile. . . .The Bay of Noon serves as a reminder that the novel must more than replicate experience. Miss Hazzard expands and diffuses it in a suggestive, seductive and just about flawless book, irrevocably engaging the reader all the while. (Kirkus Reviews)


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Author Biography - Shirley Hazzard

Shirley Hazzard was born in Sydney in 1931. She has lived in Hong Kong, New Zealand and New York where she worked for the United Nations. She is a past recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, an American Academy Award and the O. Henry Short Story Award.

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