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Zennor In Darkness Paperback – International Edition, May 3, 1994
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'Highly original and beautifully written' Sunday Telegraph 'Helen Dunmore mesmerizes you with her magical pen' Daily Mail Helen Dunmore mesmerizes you with her magical pen Daily Mail Helen Dunmore mesmerizes you with her magical pen Daily Mail --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
Helen Dunmore has published nine novels with Penguin: Zennor in Darkness, which won the McKitterick Prize; Burning Bright; A Spell of Winter, which won the Orange Prize; Talking to the Dead; Your Blue-Eyed Boy; With Your Crooked Heart; The Siege, which was shortlisted for the 2001 Whitbread Novel of the Year Award and for the Orange Prize for Fiction 2002; Mourning Ruby and House of Orphans. She is also a poet, children’s novelist and short-story writer.
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Top Customer Reviews
The reviews of the book Zennor in Darkness on Amazon have been positive. I started reading the book, wanting to be enlightened about the Cornish countryside, Zennor, and D H Lawrence and his relationships. After about 40 pages I found my mind was drifting away from the book, and although I did read the book to the end, it was a real struggle, not a book I would like to recommend.
Trying to understand why my reaction is so different from other reviewers, I would like to suggest the following:
The present tense in which most of the book is written does not somehow convey the full impact of any event.
The writer has not been able to convey very powerfully to the reader the darkness of Zennor, the theme of the book.
The relationship between D H Lawrence and Frieda, and of the local people was such a powerful period in Zennor that it could have been turned into a very gripping book. The reason maybe that the author tried to hint at events/relationship, rather focusing on the crucial ones.
I believe later books by Helen Dunmore have been more focussed.
Zennor is a lovely place, with bracing cliff landscapes and sea air, beautifully evoked by Helen Dunmore. But the darkness is never far from their doors. Telegrams arrive with sickening frequency announcing yet another death. Men return wounded in invisible ways. Passions flare in brief encounters that only reinforce awareness of the destruction taking place just the other side of the Channel. ZENNOR IN DARKNESS ranks with Pat Barker's REGENERATION trilogy as a view of war from the sidelines, helpless but by no means unaffected.
This is a remarkable achievement by any standard, but as a first [adult] novel it is simply astounding. I can certainly see similarities with her two more recent books that I have read: she will use the WW1 period again in A SPELL OF WINTER, and Clare's Cornish childhood is very similar to that of the heroine in TALKING TO THE DEAD; indeed the power of childhood memories and close familial connections is a powerful theme in all three books. But as opposed to the rather melodramatic plot constructs in those later novels, this one deals with a period that needs no additional drama; its story unfolds naturally, almost inevitably; and its combination of fact and fiction seems effortless. Clare is a beautiful character, and Dunmore's Lawrence shares that edgy charisma that made his thinly-veiled appearance in Aldous Huxley's POINT COUNTER POINT the highlight of that book also. I am eager to see what Dunmore makes of another real-life wartime setting, that of the siege of Leningrad, in her 2002 novel, THE SIEGE.