Mouthing the Words by Camilla Gibb

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Synopsis

By turns harrowing and hilarious, this adroitly narrated winner of the Toronto Book Award re-creates the world in the imagination of Thelma. It’s a world in which she can escape some of her more painful childhood realities, like those games her father likes to make her play, where he’s the boss and she the naughty secretary. And her mother so fiercely favors her younger brother, the cherubic Willy, that Thelma finds herself perpetually in emotional exile. No wonder Thelma asks practically every adult she meets to adopt her. Along Thelma’s bumpy way from a rural English village to Canada to a law degree at Oxford, she meets many potential parents and even makes some friends, but it is with the companions of her fertile imagination—with the scaredy-baby Janawee, moody and timid Ginniger, and big, strong, stoic Heroin—that Thelma finds comfort. With them, too, she loses an already tenuous connection to reality, though ultimately Thelma’s spirit and humor prove to be as indomitable as her wit. “Moving and comic at once.... Hallucinatory, hilarious, and haunting.”—Boston Globe “Prickly, unsentimental...a portrait of terrible comic humanity.”—New York Times Book Review “Mesmerizing.... Lush, visceral prose ... rings with an authority rarely found in first novels.”—Washington Post Book World “A novel of astonishing power .... An instantaneous classic.”—Baltimore Sun “Elegant ... sings with an almost Victorian delicacy and sophistication.”—San Francisco Chronicle
 

About Camilla Gibb

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Camilla Gibb was born in London, England, and grew up in Toronto. She has a Ph.D. in social anthropology from Oxford University for which she conducted fieldwork in Ethiopia. Her two previous novels, Mouthing the Words and The Petty Details of So-and-so's Life, have been translated into eleven languages and published to rave reviews around the world. She is one of 21 writers on the "Orange Futures List" -- a list of young writers to watch, compiled by the jury of the prestigious Orange Prize. She is currently Writer in Residence at the University of Toronto.
 
Published September 1, 1999 by Pedlar Press. 192 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Humor & Entertainment, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Mouthing the Words

Kirkus Reviews

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So Thelma makes a point of asking any grownup who seems an improvement on her parents—which is to say, just about every grownup she meets—to adopt her.

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Publishers Weekly

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A crystal-voiced young narrator and the saving grace of humor distinguish Gibb's stunningly assured debut novel (already winner of the Toronto Book Award) from similarly conceived stories about

Apr 02 2001 | Read Full Review of Mouthing the Words

Publishers Weekly

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It's little wonder, then, that Thelma invents three imaginary friends—Ginniger, Janawee and Heroin—each with her own function for helping Thelma to cope.

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