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Five Rivers Met on a Wooded Plain

Five Rivers Met on a Wooded Plain (Hardback)

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A Times bestseller. "Wonderful...I was hooked from the first page. It's the real stuff." (Michael Frayn). "Deeply affecting". (Guardian). "Superb". (Mail on Sunday). "Barney Norris is a rare and precious talent". (Evening Standard). 'There exists in all of us a song waiting to be sung which is as heart-stopping and vertiginous as the peak of the cathedral. That is the meaning of this quiet city, where the spire soars into the blue, where rivers and stories weave into one another, where lives intertwine.' One quiet evening in Salisbury, the peace is shattered by a serious car crash. At that moment, five lives collide - a flower seller, a schoolboy, an army wife, a security guard, a widower - all facing their own personal disasters. As one of those lives hangs in the balance, the stories of all five unwind, drawn together by connection and coincidence into a web of love, grief, disenchantment and hope that perfectly represents the joys and tragedies of small town life.

Fiction & PoetryModern & contemporary fiction post c 1945 Publisher: Transworld Publishers Ltd Publication Date: 21/04/2016 ISBN-13: 9780857523723  Details: Type: Hardback Format: Books
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Barney Norris was born in Sussex in 1987, and grew up in Salisbury. Upon leaving university he founded the theatre company Up In Arms. He won the Critics' Circle and Offwestend Awards for Most Promising Playwright for his debut full-length play Visitors. He is the Martin Esslin Playwright in Residence at Keble College, Oxford. This is his first novel.

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Customer Reviews

Five rivers flow on Salisbury plain and meet at different points. As do the lives of five disparate characters in Barney Norris' debut novel. By having five people who live in or around Salisbury and whose lives bump up against each other's tell their individual stories and their part in a story they all share, the author finds a fascinating way in which to give voice to the city and a cross-section of the ordinary people who live there. The novel shows how people connect or feel connected, even if its of their own imagining, and vice versa: it shows how we make assumptions about others, and how wrong-headed we can sometimes be, but how that can lead us to make decisions about our own lives which send us in different directions - just as a river can change course. This is where the novel was at its strongest for me: when its people meet, however briefly or however differently they remember those meetings. I responded to some characters more than others: I didn't especially warm to the army wife and the security guard's story felt less satisfying than the others. There are moments when Barney Norris nails a description or a truth about life that either had me nodding or reaching for the highlighter pen. He writes wonderfully well and is an acute observer, finding the extraordinary in ordinary lives: those moments of love and loss, disillusionment and joy which go to make up a life. He shows how it is other people who affect us and shape our lives.

- 30/06/2016
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Staff Choice

What does it mean to be from a place? And what if that place isn't Paris or New York but a small city in Wiltshire? A love letter to the author's home town and an exploration of lives lived without fanfare, often remotely and yet no less compelling for it.

Ed, Charing Cross Road


Charing Cross Rd Bookshop - 01/04/2016


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