Think of England by Alice Elliott Dark
A Novel

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Synopsis

Jane had a pen and a notebook with her, just in case; she liked to write things down. She was the kind of girl who felt New Year's should be in the fall, at the beginning of school, the kind of girl who begged for chores and saved quarters in a jar to buy a pony. At nine Jane began to want a room of her own. She was writing a book.


It has been said that children are great observers but poor interpreters. Jane, who dreams of being part of a happy family, thinks she's responsible for her parents' misery. She wishes everyone would follow her grandmother's advice in times of crisis -- think of England -- a phrase that makes her feel safe.

When the MacLeods gather for the Beatles' first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show, Jane sees in the band the same profound pining she feels in herself. But later that night a tragedy dashes her hope for the future and burdens her with guilt for decades to come. Years later, Jane travels to London, where she meets a man who reignites her desire for a happy life, but again she is disillusioned. It isn't until she is a single mother with a daughter of her own that, at another family gathering, Jane comes to terms with the mystery of her past.

Alice Elliott Dark has been celebrated for her short fiction, collected in Naked to the Waist and In the Gloaming. Each of these stories, said Joyce Carol Oates, "exudes the gravitas of a radically distilled novel." With Think of England, Dark rises to Oates's prescient praise, revealing herself to be a master of the longer form.

 

About Alice Elliott Dark

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Alice Elliott Dark is the author of In the Gloaming and Naked to the Waist. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, Harper's, Prize Stories: O. Henry, The Best American Short Stories, and The Best American Short Stories of the Century.
 
Published April 23, 2002 by Simon & Schuster. 272 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Think of England

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A political bombing and an affair with aloof (and married) American writer Clay West lead Jane to confront her long-buried guilt over her parents' unhappiness and father's death.

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Entertainment Weekly

Fifteen years later, a still haunted Jane moves to England to escape her ghosts and guilt and ''figure out...what she could do with her life other than trying to make them into the happy family she thought they should be.'' Short-story writer Dark delicately constructs the enduring web of fi...

May 10 2002 | Read Full Review of Think of England: A Novel

The Best Reviews

In 1964 Wynnemoor, Pennsylvania, nine-year-old Jane MacLeod escapes from her unhappily married parents by writing about happy families coming together.

May 01 2002 | Read Full Review of Think of England: A Novel

Reader Rating for Think of England
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