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Miranda Road [Kindle Edition]

Heather Reyes
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

Born in England to an American soldier, Georgina Hardiman can't wait to escape her step-family. She has big plans for her life ... but she never does make it to Katmandu. The only journey she makes is from street-fighting 1968 Paris to a small flat in London's Archway.

As a single mother, Georgina tries to make the best life she can for her daughter and herself in Mrs Thatcher's Britain. But Eloisa has her own ideas about what she wants from life ... starting with a father.

Miranda Road is a bitter-sweet and wonderfully witty meditation on the various kinds of love and the difficulty of freeing ourselves from the past.

'Rich, poetic, painterly, wise and tender - Heather Reyes portrays the last half-century of a changing Europe but also fictionalises the life of a mother and writer who loves her daughter and loves words, and manages to send both into the future' Maggie Gee

'Hugely readable and quietly profound, this novel about family, in the most modern sense, explores the singular bond between mother and daughter ... it explores the aftermath of passion, of political upheaval, and of the disintegration of the nuclear family with a sensitivity that is both lyrical and deeply moving' Beatrice Colin

'A leafy London Archway street inspires a magical story ... poetic, light and politically insightful. It's rich and witty. Miranda Road reflects themes in the Bard's Tempest.' Ham & High

'The subject is both profound and touching, and in reading the book I was very happy to find something of an echo of the atmosphere of Doris Lessing’s ‘The Golden Notebook’ – that book which so marked our generation. I very much enjoyed being able to get close to these two people, Georgina and Eloisa, the woman and the child – to them and to their relationship which one sees changing over time, their personal story built on the ‘History’ which which has formed the men and women of our age.' Ada Ruata



Editorial Reviews

Review

'Rich, poetic, painterly, wise and tender - Heather Reyes portrays the last half-century of a changing Europe but also fictionalises the life of a mother and writer who loves her daughter and loves words, and manages to send both into the future' Maggie Gee

'Hugely readable and quietly profound, this novel about family, in the most modern sense, explores the singular bond between mother and daughter ... it explores the aftermath of passion, of political upheaval, and of the disintegration of the nuclear family with a sensitivity that is both lyrical and deeply moving.' Beatrice Colin

'The subject is both profound and touching, and in reading the book I was very happy to find something of an echo of the atmosphere of Doris Lessing's 'The Golden Notebook' - that book which so marked our generation. I very much enjoyed being able to get close to these two people, Georgina and Eloisa, the woman and the child - to them and to their relationship which one sees changing over time, their personal story built on the 'History' which which has formed the men and women of our age.' Ada Ruata
 

From the Author

I was in Paris twice in 1968 - before and during les evenements

Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive,
            But to be young was very heaven!
... as Wordsworth wrote, in The Prelude, about the period of the French Revolution. And it's a quotation I've heard applied more than once to 1968 when the post-war generation of young people got out on the streets and tried to change the world for the better. At least, that's what it felt like at the time.

In France, those who participated in 'les événements' of 1968 are known as soixante-huitards (for non-French speakers, soixante-huit just means sixty-eight), and for them and for those who witnessed it, to a greater or lesser extent, the period helped to shape their lives subsequently - as it does for Georgina Hardiman in Miranda Road.
I was in Paris twice in 1968. The first time, just a few days before les événements erupted with full force, I was trying to cross Paris in a taxi with the mother of my exchange partner (I was still at school) and we were stuck in a vast and very French traffic jam (lots of horns and people calling out of their car windows) with a taxi driver whose vocabulary was way beyond my grasp of colloquial French as he swore at the chaos caused by the demonstrators I only glimpsed moving down a boulevard. I had no idea what any of it was about, though the general atmosphere of the late 'sixties had infected even the dormitory of my convent school as we sat around in the evenings strumming guitars and singing Bob Dylan songs and trying to get away with wearing hippy beads under our uniform blouses.

At the beginning of August, I was back in Paris, this time on a business trip with my parents (I'd left school a couple of weeks previously). By this time, we all knew what it was about: the news had been dominated by it. The atmosphere on the streets was still electric and, as we were staying in my father's usual hotel right in the middle of the university district, we were in the thick of it.

One night we found ourselves in a street lined with vehicles disgorging hundreds of riot police, in full Dr. Who-style gear, and had to dodge down little side streets and try to find a 'safe' way back to the hotel. Only many years later did my very responsible and respectable parents admit they had actually found the whole thing wildly exciting!  (Well, I never ...)

In Miranda Road, it's in May 1968 that Georgina and Amadou's daughter, Eloisa, is conceived - literally a 'daughter of the revolution'. But part of the novel is about the next generation's rejection of - or failure to understand - what it was all about. Feminism, political activism, '68, anti-Thatcherism, anti-consumerism, anti-militarism (yes, those flowers down the gun-barrels) - all the things so dear to Georgina's generation fail to take significant root in the next generation. Or so it sometimes seemed to those whose lives shaped by such things. Or is it just that Eloisa's generation didn't realise the differences all that 'sixties stuff' had actually made to the world they inherited?
 
How a short story became Miranda Road

My novel Miranda Road grew out of a short story, 'Dancing to Schoenberg', published some years ago in Ambit. The characters and situation just wouldn't leave my head, even long after it was published: Georgina Hardiman (father American, mother second generation Polish immigrant) and her daughter Eloisa (father half French, half Senegalese) clamoured for attention and for their whole story to be told.

I tried to placate them by writing a few more short stories with this single mother and her awkward but intelligent daughter as the main characters, but this still didn't satisfy them.
Feeling almost bullied by these two strong females living in my head, and not quite knowing what to do about it, I sent the collection of linked short stories to The Literary Consultancy for advice. The diagnosis was as I feared: 'This is a novel trying to be born. Just get down to it.'

Easier said than done. It took many drafts to unpack all the implications buried in the snapshots of their lives represented by the short stories - a number of which played no part in the final narrative.

But now it's done. I have given Georgina and Eloisa their novel and hope they like the way I have told their story.
 

Product Details

  • File Size: 6647 KB
  • Print Length: 314 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0992636418
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Oxygen Books (March 16, 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00J2BZ5D0
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #835,636 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars October 1, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Had a good story line, slow in some places. Would recommend
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More About the Author

Hello. I'm Heather Reyes - writer, editor, publisher,' Londoner'.

I'm co-founder of Oxygen Books and have edited all nine of the volumes in our city-pick series of travel anthologies.

Before setting up Oxygen Books in 2008, I had published a range of things - children's stories, poetry, short stories, articles, and a novel (Zade, Saqi Books 2004). Now that Oxygen Books is ticking over, I'm getting back to some of my own writing again.

I hope this profile gives you the information you need - I guess it depends on why you've looked me up!



ABOUT ME ...

Born on the outskirts of London, I've always lived, studied and worked either within or less than half an hour from the capital. I was a non-Catholic 'scholarship girl' at the Ursuline High School, Brentwood, then graduated from Queen Mary College, University of London, in English. I went on to King's College for a post-graduate teaching year, but didn't take up a teaching post until much later. I worked as a freelance writer for a while - stories, articles and children's books - until starting a family. Although a card-carrying feminist, I loved - and still love - being a mother, and elected to stay home and look after my two amazing children until they started school, when I took up a teaching post at my old secondary school.

I had a number of short stories published and was working on longer things, too - 'learning the craft' - and at some point I went back to uni (part-time) and took an MA in modern literature, then a Ph.D (on the work of contemporary novelist Christine Brooke-Rose) - both at Birkbeck College, University of London (a marvellous place!).

After a number of 'near misses' with getting a full-length work published, my novel Zade (set in Paris) was accepted for publication by Saqi Books, and came out in 2004. It made a long-list of twelve books for the Prince Maurice Prize (for writing about love). I was over-awed to find that Zadie Smith (whom I really admire) was also on the long-list (though even she didn't make it to the final three!).

Soon after this I took an editing qualification, left teaching, and worked as a freelance editor for a while - though continuing to work on my own writing when I could.

It was during a trip to Athens in early 2008 that my husband, Malcolm Burgess, had the idea for our urban anthologies and we set up Oxygen Books. For some time we'd liked the idea of setting up our own small publishing house, but it needed that 'concrete idea' - about what we should publish that no-one else seemed to be doing - in order to justify such an all-consuming venture.

Nine anthologies (paris, London, Berlin, Venice, Dublin, Amsterdam, New York, St Petersburg and Istanbul) and lots of good reviews later, we feel we have achieved something worthwhile. We're now both finding a bit more time for our own writing again, while continuing our publishing venture.

In April, my first non-fiction book is coming out - An Everywhere: a little book about reading. More about that book - and my other writing - below. This will be followed, in May, by a novel, Miranda Road, set in London and Paris.

I'm currently putting together a collection of my short stories (a number of these have already been published in the UK and USA) and making a tentative start on another non-fiction book.(less)

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