Internationally acclaimed as one of the most exciting debuts of the year, this stunning memoir has put Andrea Ashworth on the literary map as one of the brightest stars of her generation. Once in a House on Fire is the vivid and unforgettable portrait of a family terrorized by the explosive rage of one stepfather and then another. Yet Andrea never gives in to despair and finds a haven in the work of great writers-Joyce, Eliot, D. H. Lawrence, and others-who allow her to see a world beyond her own and set her on her path toward intellectual and artistic awakening.
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In her engrossing memoir, Once in a House on Fire, Andrea Ashworth recalls growing up poor in a violent English household during the 1970s and 1980s. Ashworth's father drowned when she was just 5. Her mother then married a man who beat her frequently and made life miserable for the whole family. When Ashworth's mother finally got rid of him, she married a small-time criminal who also soon became violent. Throughout her childhood, the author struggled to protect her little sisters from their stepfathers and kept the family going when their mother could not function because of her injuries, depressions, and blinding headaches. Ashworth and her family moved around quite a bit, often living in other people's houses, sleeping in cots or on floors. They all suffered from the emotional and economic instability of their situation. Ashworth recalls the sunglasses her mother wore through cloudy dark English winters to conceal her bruised eyes. She also remembers sneaking out of the house one day to run through a rich neighborhood, where she paused occasionally to open the mailboxes of the wealthy and smell their comfort and safety.
Although Ashworth's story is all about loneliness and love gone wrong, the surprising thing is that this book is not always terribly sad-- there are interludes when the children have fun and in those sunny moments it seems probable that all of them, especially Andrea, will survive more or less intact. Ashworth recalls the details of her childhood vividly, in brief scenes. In one of those scenes, two sisters race down a cobbled street at breakneck speed. Each of them has one roller skate on--they are sharing. Ashworth's writing is crisp, her dialogue right to the point. This book is reminiscent of Frank Conroy's Stop-Time and Tobias Wolff's This Boy's Life, both classic memoirs of adolescence. --Jill MarquisAbout the Author:
Andrea Ashworth was born in Manchester, England, in 1969 and was educated at Oxford and Yale. She has recently been given a fellowship at Jesus College, Oxford, where she makes her home.
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Descripción 2007. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. 1st. Paperback. Set in 1970s Manchester, Once in a House on Fire tells the true story of three sisters and their mother, a close-knit and loving family forced to battle with poverty, abuse an.Shipping may be from our Sydney, NSW warehouse or from our UK or US warehouse, depending on stock availability. 336 pages. 0.215. Nº de ref. de la librería 9780330450089