Letters from an Unknown Woman by Gerard Woodward

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Synopsis

With her children evacuated and her husband at the front, Tory Pace is grudgingly sharing the family home with her irascible mother; working at the local gelatin factory—to help the war effort—and generally doing just about as well as could be expected in difficult times. Her quiet life is thrown into turmoil, however, when her prisoner-of-war husband, Donald, makes an outrageous demand for sexual gratification. He wants a dirty letter! Horrified, at first, that Donald is being turned into some sort of monster by the Nazis, Tory’s disgust gradually gives way to a sense of marital duty, and taking in the libraries, bookshops, public conveniences and barbers’ shops of South-East London, she begins a quest to master the language of carnal desire: a quest that takes a sudden and unexpected turn into far more dangerous territory. Beginning with an act of unintentional cannibalism, and flirting with a scheme to end world hunger by the use of protein pills, Letters from an Unknown Woman ranges widely across the Continent and yet always returns home: to family, to people, to relationships. Woodward offers a prescient examination of the ways in which we both nurture and consume each other in the face of adversity.
 

About Gerard Woodward

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Gerard Woodward is the author of an acclaimed trilogy comprising: August (shortlisted for the 2001 Whitbread First Novel Award), I'll Go to Bed at Noon (shortlisted for the 2004 Man Booker Prize) and A Curious Earth. He was born in London in 1961, and published several prize-winning collections of poetry before turning to fiction. His latest collection of poetry, We Were Pedestrians was shortlisted for the 2005 T.S.Eliot Prize. He is Professor of Creative Writing at Bath Spa University.
 
Published October 10, 2011 by Arcade Publishing. 352 pages
Genres: Education & Reference, Humor & Entertainment, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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The New York Times

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A World War II British family deals with its privations in unsettling ways.

Oct 07 2011 | Read Full Review of Letters from an Unknown Woman

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