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review 2018-06-05 00:00
Man Out of Time
Man Out of Time - Stephanie Bishop Man Out of Time - Stephanie Bishop I had to think on this book for a while before I wrote this as it is very much a multi-layered book. There is the plot, the things that happen. However these things are not as important as the way the characters perceive them and feel about them; Bishop's writing is such that you get a front row seat into this. It is not like you are at the movie watching events unfold. You are within the character and feeling it unfold, getting an idea of what it feels like within. It is much more of an intense experience of being with the character, it goes much further than evoking empathy.

It is one of those stories that made me question what is bequeathed us by our parents and our family? Can we ever truly escape it? Is it inevitable that we eventually turn into one of our parents? And if that is the case, do we get to chose which one? These questions are much more pointed because of the opposing psychological and emotional states of Stella's parents.

The event that precipitated Leon's descent into madness is less important than the descent itself (I use the term madness very loosely here). Also the fact that, while Frances probably tried harder to hold on to her bond with Leon, it was Stella who was able to maintain it more effortlessly despite herself. Bishop's writing is beautiful in places and was really evocative of this. She allowed the reader a gentle slide into Leon's disordered way of thinking through his internal dialogues as well as those with his family, mainly Stella.

The novel also addresses how children may react, or act out, in the face of a parent's descent into disorder (I think that is a much better term than madness), not just how one might react emotionally.

I enjoyed this book. The three characters (there really are only three that are explored in any great depth) are interesting and I grew attached to them all. I can't really say that I disliked any of them. Sometimes I wondered why they were doing the things they were, but Bishop always drew this out, slowly and gently without bashing either the reader or the characters over the head. I would class it as an emotional drama and I really enjoyed the places that the characters took me.
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review 2016-09-10 20:57
Shocking and heartbreaking
The Other Side of the World - Stephanie Bishop,Penelope Rawlins

This book had quite a profound effect on me. It’s the story of a married couple, Charlotte and Henry, who are living in England in the 1960’s.    Charlotte is an artist, but when she begins to have children, she goes through a depressed period and has difficulty painting or dealing with life as a mother and wife.  Henry, having been born in India and who has never liked English weather, decides that it would help their family to move to Australia and start a new life there.  Charlotte has no desire at all to leave her beloved England behind but is so worn out that she gives in. 

 

While there was a part of me that could certainly relate to Charlotte’s struggles, my main sympathy was for Henry, who tried so hard to make life better for his family, even throughout his own difficulties.   I can understand Charlotte being homesick as I know I would be, too, if I left all that was familiar.  But home is where the heart is and she had her “heart” with her – her husband and little girls – and I feel that she was almost trying not to adjust to the new country.  Regardless of how I felt about the decisions that Charlotte makes, I also cared for her and so very much wanted the best for them all.  The author developed her characters magnificently and had great insight into their lives.

 

This is such a beautifully written piece of literature. I truly loved it.  Ms. Bishop has written an honest, no bars held masterpiece.  She knows how to capture her readers’ attention and hearts.   The ending is shocking and heartbreaking and literally took my breath away.   Most highly recommended.

 

This book was given to me by the publisher through NetGalley in return for an honest review.

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review 2015-10-09 20:02
Review: The Other Side of the World by Stephanie Bishop
The Other Side of the World - Stephanie Bishop,Penelope Rawlins

Publisher: Tinder Press, August 13th 2015 (hardback edition)

 

ISBN: 978-1472230614

 

Source: Review copy from publisher

 

Rating: 5*

 

Synopsis:

Cambridge 1963. Charlotte struggles to reconnect with the woman she was before children, and to find the time and energy to paint. Her husband, Henry, cannot face the thought of another English winter. A brochure slipped through the letterbox gives him the answer: 'Australia brings out the best in you'.

Charlotte is too worn out to resist, and before she knows it is travelling to the other side of the world. But on their arrival in Perth, the southern sun shines a harsh light on both Henry and Charlotte and slowly reveals that their new life is not the answer either was hoping for. Charlotte is left wondering if there is anywhere she belongs, and how far she'll go to find her way home...

 

Review:

This novel made for compelling reading, in spite of the fact that there is little action. It's a simple story that makes for easy reading.

I found Charlotte to be a likeable and believable character, and felt great sympathy for her.

I didn't like Henry, but I guess we have all met men like him!

The story is so true to life with all its complexities and difficult decisions.

 

Thanks to the team at Tinder Press for sending me a review copy.

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review 2015-09-05 12:25
The Other Side of the World - Stephanie Bishop,Penelope Rawlins

It is the harsh winter of 1962/3, Henry and Charlotte are struggling in a poky, damp cottage near Cambridge. They have a sick baby with another expected soon. Henry (a British Indian) hates the cold and wants to emigrate to Australia to get some heat back in his bones but Charlotte doesn't want to go but unwillingly agrees. He is selfish for insisting and she is too for not really trying when she gets there. There was such a sense of yearning in this book - for something that no longer existed. I didn't take to either of these characters but I loved the descriptions of England, Australia and India, the journey. It felt as if you were actually there. The author is very talented with an easy style of writing. I look forward to reading other books by her.

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text 2015-07-28 10:23
The Fragility Of identity
The Other Side of the World - Stephanie Bishop

Set in the mid nineteen sixties this is the story of Charlotte a young, talented painter, struggling with the demands of motherhood and the pressures of surviving on the salary of her academic husband, Henry.

 

Deeply rooted in Cambridgeshire, she is nevertheless persuaded by Henry to emigrate to Australia in search of a better life; but the reality of their new environment is nothing like the brochures Henry has browsed.

 

In this new, alien country, Charlotte becomes entirely unmoored, while Henry, an Anglo-Indian who had not previously questioned his Britishness, finds himself confronted by an insidious barrier of covert racism.

 

Their marriage quickly starts to unravel and ultimately Charlotte begins to fall apart, unable to give herself to her children or her husband because she no longer possesses enough of herself to do so

 

Precise, unflinching, sometimes painfully sad but always beautifully-observed, The Other Side Of The World is an exploration of what we understand by the idea of home, and a study of the fragility of identity. A first-rate work of literary fiction

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