What They Do in the Dark by Amanda Coe
A Novel

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Synopsis

“A terrific debut, full of energy and colour, as propulsive as a thriller.”—Guardian


In this unforgettable debut novel about the pain, joy, and occasional beauty of childhood, two girls are set on an unimaginable path. Spoiled but emotionally neglected Gemma, who seems to have everything, and semi-feral Pauline, who has less than nothing, are two very different ten-year-old girls growing up in a tough Yorkshire town in the 1970s. Pauline longs for the simple luxuries of Gemma’s life: her neatly folded socks and her clean hair. Gemma, upset by her parents’ breakup, loses herself in fantasies of meeting the child television star Lallie Paluza. When Lallie shoots a movie in their hometown, Gemma and Pauline grab the chance for their wildest dreams to come true. But the film becomes a catalyst for the forces of the dysfunctional adult world and its impact on both girls as playground bullying escalates with terrible consequences.
 

About Amanda Coe

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Amanda Coe is a writer and screenwriter whose television credits include the British series Shameless. She lives in London.
 
Published March 19, 2012 by W. W. Norton & Company. 257 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for What They Do in the Dark

Kirkus Reviews

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Coe switches narrators from the naïve and somewhat prim Gemma to a neutral, third-person voice that introduces us to an eccentric cast of supporting characters such as Frank, Lallie’s febrile and twitchy manager, who wonders what will happen to his own professional life when Lallie hits adolescence;

Jan 15 2012 | Read Full Review of What They Do in the Dark: A N...

The Guardian

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What They Do in the Dark by Amanda Coe Buy it from the Guardian bookshop Search the Guardian bookshop Tell us what you think: Star-rate and review this book ...

Jul 29 2011 | Read Full Review of What They Do in the Dark: A N...

Publishers Weekly

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Although the perspective of the book, even when narrated by Gemma, doesn’t feel particularly childlike, a sense of powerlessness and half-awareness of adult events and motivations feels authentic and heightens the tension.

Jan 30 2012 | Read Full Review of What They Do in the Dark: A N...

Washington Independent Review of Books

Two 10-year-old classmates — one privileged but neglected, another living in a state of feral existence — experience the darkness and dangers of childhood in a 1970s Yorkshire town.

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Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Blue swamp: Patients get stuck when health care networks feud Fighting words: Cooler heads must prevail in the Korean peninsula The right to self-defense is a natural right Sacrificing women for politics: These U.S. House members from Pa.

Jul 22 2012 | Read Full Review of What They Do in the Dark: A N...

We Love This Book

Gemma apparently has a stable family, but reluctantly goes to live with her mother and her mother's boyfriend, whose main attraction seems to be his wealth.

Jul 07 2011 | Read Full Review of What They Do in the Dark: A N...

Boston.com

Capsule reviews of ‘Devil in the Grove,’ ‘What They Do in the Dark,’ and ‘Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power’ - The Boston Globe ...

Apr 01 2012 | Read Full Review of What They Do in the Dark: A N...

Bookmarks Magazine

Norton & Company Product Description “A terrific debut, full of energy and colour, as propulsive as a thriller.”—GuardianIn this unforgettable debut novel about the pain, joy, and occasional beauty of childhood, ...

Jul 24 2012 | Read Full Review of What They Do in the Dark: A N...

Curious Book Fans

Gemma is selfish and shallow, Pauline is damaged and manipulative, and on the first page of the story is a newspaper obituary for a 35 year old Lallie, who never enjoyed the success as an adult that she did as a child.

Nov 18 2011 | Read Full Review of What They Do in the Dark: A N...

The American Book Center Blog

At least she takes care that no one ever really harms Gemma… Her life revolves around Lallie Paluza, a child star whose uncanny impersonations of anyone from Bob Hope to Greta Garbo earned her her own television show, It’s Lallie!

Jul 19 2011 | Read Full Review of What They Do in the Dark: A N...

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