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Seizure: A Novel Hardcover – April 17, 2007


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; First Edition edition (April 17, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393061485
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393061482
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.8 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,053,485 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The primal fear of maternal abandonment is twisted into this insistently dark, atmospheric novel by London Times literary editor Wagner, author of a story collection (Gravity) and nonfiction book on Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath (Ariel's Gift). Janet Ward, in a settled long-term relationship but suffering from dreamlike seizures, is shocked to suddenly inherit a house from her mother—whom she had always believed died when she was three. Upon her arrival at the small seaside stone cottage in the English north, Janet discovers she is not alone: a man named Tom has been given a key of his own. A torrid spell of stories and dreams from the past (an elusive mother, seal-women and demon lovers, journeys across the sea) follows, along with the present reality of Tom and Janet together in the cottage, trying to figure out who they are to one another and why their meeting feels like destiny. Much of the book is a drawn-out, portentous standoff between the two, and readers won't be surprised at their mutual attraction or the truth of their connection. The prose is overblown and repetitive, and layers of symbolism further weigh the story down, but Wagner's lyrical vision of Janet is palpable through the haze. (Apr.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

In her first novel, Wagner, literary editor at The Times (London), tells an intense story of identity in sensuous prose. British city-planner Janet had always been told that her mother was killed in a hit-and-run accident. Then she discovers that her mother has left her a stone cottage on the coast. As she starts to sift through the stories her father told her when she was a child, she begins to realize that everything she thought she knew about her parents might be a lie. She also senses her own growing estrangement from her live-in boyfriend, a traveling musician, and once again starts to experience brain seizures, which have plagued her on and off since childhood. She decides to find out whether the cottage will provide any clues to her mother's motivations for abandoning her family. But once there she encounters a charismatic stranger, who seems somehow familiar and who offers stories of his own. Wagner makes their passionate relationship the centerpiece of this unusual novel, which artfully probes the mysterious nature of human connection. Joanne Wilkinson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By M. K. Hanks on January 30, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I'll admit - the cover is arresting. The story starts off intriguing, and there are great fairy tales woven into the plot, as told to young Tom by his mother. These tales become more significant, more metaphorical of the characters' life stories as time passes. But the descriptions of our heroine Janet's seizures are not compelling - "going into a room, being locked in" and the plot just gets downright creepy and well, icky. Yecch.

I made it to the end owing to Wagner's vivid and intense writing style - she does suspense pretty well - and my desire to have loose ends tied up. But ultimately I was disappointed, and regretted having read it.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Luan Gaines HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 16, 2008
Format: Paperback
Janet is with Stephen, cocooned in what appears a contented relationship in London. Recently, the seizures of her childhood have returned, reawakening an eerie sense of time that accompanies such "incidents". But when she is contacted by a solicitor, who delivers the key to a beach-side cottage she has inherited- her mother has died- Janet cannot wait for Stephen to free himself from obligations, rushing to the cottage. Suddenly, nothing makes sense to Janet; her mother has been gone since she was three, the intervening years filled with her father's stories until the silence of his death. Meanwhile, Tom has returned to that small patch of ocean view after years of wandering. Now he waits for he knows not what, only waits with expectation. And Janet, in her car, drives toward him.

Everything is symbolic: Janet's restlessness, Tom's quiet patience, the inexplicable state of their awareness, as though each has been searching for that other part to make them whole. Both are steeped in stories, one from a father, the other from a mother, tales of longing, of dreams, of leaving, of leaving behind. Janet's impulsive escape from her life is surprising, discarding the surety and comfort of Stephen in London, seized by the siren call of a dead mother to retrieve time and place. Janet arrives, confronted by Tom, who refuses to leave. The pieces of this puzzle are ragged, not smooth, difficult to fit together; yet they possess a rightness that appeals both to Janet and Tom. She brings with her a wildness she had not known existed, he a recognition; "The cord between them... wound in her grasp, around her spine, around her heart." What is the difference between fable and truth?
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By JLH on May 24, 2011
Format: Paperback
I bought this book at a library book sale. I know now why it was discarded. Although it starts out with an interesting plot, the dreamy and repetitive prose is annoying. I couldn't help wonder if it was drug-induced writing. What you are hoping not to be true does come out, with Tom projecting his feelings regarding the loss of his mother onto Janet. Janet is unaware at first of her relationship to Tom. Tom is a sick and disturbed character and incest is never an acceptable topic for a book. Any mother who has a son would never wish to be mourned over this way. I cannot beleive a woman wrote this. I threw this book in the garbage where it belongs. Do not pollute your mind with this downright disgusting book.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful By annette d greif on January 11, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I REALLY LOOKED FORWARD TO READING THIS BOOK..BUT ALAS, I CLOSED IT AT ABOUT 1/2 WAY.OBSCURE,NOT CAPTIVATING.CHARACTERS NOT AVAILABLE TO THE READER.
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