book reviews , different studio guests each week. Join us every Thursday between 12 and 1pm on Radio Scilly 107.9fm or log on to

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Sunday, 30 September 2012

Margaret Forster - Keeping the World Away

reviewed live on show by Babs Simpson, 27th Sept This is a fascinating and rather unusuual novel based around a painting - deceptively simple - the corner of a plain room, part of the window, a chair with a coat and a furled parasol resting against it, light and shade from sunlight through the curtained window, a tiled floor, It was painted by Gwen John, sister of Augustus John, and given to a friend who loses it in a forgotten suitcase. It passes to five otherwomen as the years go by. It is lost, found, stolen, strayed, sold, fought over and finally bequeathed to a young girl who aspires to be an artist. The various women's lives are vividly described and although their circumstances are quite different, they all have a common need, the need for a tranquil golden place in their own world like that in the painting - a place where they can "keep the word away". This is a very interesting and satsfying novel, very well written with an unusual plot. Well worth reading.

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