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The Inn at the Edge of the World (Common Reader Editions) Paperback – September 1, 2000


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Product Details

  • Series: Common Reader's Alice Thomas Ellis
  • Paperback: 187 pages
  • Publisher: Akadine Press (September 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1888173459
  • ISBN-13: 978-1888173451
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.6 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,162,995 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"A fine balance between comedy and tragedy ensures the reader a sense of deep satisfaction after the last page." -- Ruth Rendell

"Ellis...[has a] broad grasp of human nature and the elusiveness of contentment." -- The Atlantic Monthly

From the Publisher

The five guests at the inn on a remote Scottish island have at least one thing in common--they are all in flight from Christmas. Are their respective unhappinesses impervious to the influence of the uncanny? This shrewd and witty gem, originally published in 1990, won the Best Novel award from Britain's Writers' Guild.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By prisrob TOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 6, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Many of us complain about Christmas- too much to do, too many gifts, too much to eat, too many people around, too much commercialization and not enough time to rest and be ourselves. In Alice Thomas Ellis's novel "The Inn At the Edge of The World", we are introduced to five people who are trying to escape the Christmas season. They have all responded to an ad in the London weeklies to "ignore Christmas at an inn at the edge of the world" The inn is off a remote coast of Scotland.
Eric owns the Inn, and his wife Mabel helps out at times. Eric wanted to move to this part of the world from London because of his wife. Mabel has a tendency to go out and party and he knows not what else she does. How Eric talked Mabel into joining him at this God forsaken place is beyond understanding They are unhappy together, and it appears later unhappy apart. Eric is not making ends meet at the Inn, and he comes up with the idea of Christmas at the edge of the world. He will be able to accept 5-7 people over Christmas and then maybe his world will turn right.
The five people who decide to answer the ad are an interesting group. Each, of course, has their own story. Harry, a military man, who has lost his wife and son. Harry has a fascination with General Charles Gordon and the last days of Khartoum. He has enough information to write his own book. Jessica is recently separated from her man, Mike. She is a voice-over commercial artist and actress. Jon, a sometimes actor, who is obsessed with Jessica. Anita, a salesperson in the stationary department of a store. And, Ronald, a psychoanalyst who's wife has recently left him. These five people meet and spend the days of Christmas together. However, their miseries just shift with them from one locale to the next.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Michael C Rockwell on June 25, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Ms Ellis writes about several disagreeable people all trying to be antisocial at Christmas time. Her descriptions of these horrid people are hilarious, especially the psychiatrist obsessed with getting his wife back to make him his supper. As usual, she puts a touch of the uncanny into the story. I recommend this and any of her books.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Judith E. Hanhisalo on September 28, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The Inn at the Edge of the World is based on the delightful idea of avoiding Christmas or at least what it has become in the modern world. An ill-assorted lot of guests ends up on a tiny Scottish island with secrets of its own, including the omnipresent smell of fish. As usual, Ellis mixes the real and supernatural deftly and believably. The writing is first rate, the characters real and the ending totally unexpected.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Amanda Richards HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 18, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If I were to choose a book based solely on the cover, it would never be this one. Having read it on the good advice of a friend, it quickly became clear that the simple, depressing and bleak cover perfectly sums up the empathy of jaded people intentionally "not celebrating" Christmas at a place best described as the edge of the world.
The first part of the book introduces you to the characters, and characters they certainly are. Each guest has their individual demon, and hopes to use the vacation for escape and relief. The host meanwhile, has completely lost track of his wife, who leaves the Inn at the most inopportune moment, as fast as her wobbling high heels will carry her. The other characters provide local color, promiscuity and adultery, adding intrigue and humor to the story.
This is a dark and hopeless romance story, where relationships are doomed to failure. Be warned that there's no cozy happy ending amidst the supernatural twists that pop up in the story like flashes of lightning on a dark rainy night.
The travellers who return home are older and wiser but not gratified or satisfied. The book closes with the enigmatic words "ye all come back in the end"
An interesting read from an outstanding author.
^AR
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6 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 30, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This story is set in a small hotel on a remote Scottish island, where the characters have gathered to avoid having to celebrate Christmas. Having often wanted to do the same thing myself, I thought the book would be about Christmas, its true meaning, why we celebrate at all, what we accomplish by escaping it, and stuff like that. However, the story has almost nothing to do with Christmas. That's just the excuse the author uses for assembling this group of characters. I've never read anything by Ellis before, so didn't know what to expect. It's a quirky little story, what there is of it. The best parts of it are the characterizations; they are excellent. Each person is drawn and developed so uniquely. I could recognize aspects of myself or friends in each of her story's characters.
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