The Gingerbread Woman

The Gingerbread Woman

by JenniferJohnston (Author)


On a rainy afternoon on Killiney Hill a young man walking, without his overcoat, happens upon a woman gazing out over Dublin bay, standing perilously close to the edge. From their testy encounter develops a remarkable friendship which will enable each to face afresh their very different, damaged pasts, and to look, however tentatively, towards the future.


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More Information

Format: Paperback
Pages: 224
Edition: New Ed
Publisher: Headline Review
Published: 05 Jul 2001

ISBN 10: 074725933X
ISBN 13: 9780747259336
Book Overview: 'Written in Johnston's usual haunting prose... no word is unnecessary' Maeve Binchy, Sunday Times

Media Reviews
She writes with considerable acuity and understanding * Sunday Times *
'The richness of themes here is as delicious at Mrs Barry's baking: the primary importance of self-esteem and the way this depends on developing a general kindliness to oneself as well as others; the vast opportunities for healing thrown up by simple pleasures, not least laughter. THE GINGERBREAD WOMAN is Johnston at her observant, compelling best' Image magazine
'Despite its desolate background it is both entertaining and uplifting... The book has a musical feel and makes a poignant symphony of its themes of love and grief' Clare Boylan, Sunday Express
'A beautifully-paced novel of solitariness... This is a book to steal for your friends and re-read your own copy for pleasure' Glasgow Herald
'With Jennifer Johnston, even the worst suffering is redeemed by wit, good humour and a sense of fun... If you have already discovered Jennifer Johnston, you will enjoy THE GINGERBREAD WOMAN. If you haven't, then this is a good place to start' Daily Mail
'Written in Johnston's usual haunting prose, where no word is unnecessary' Maeve Binchy, Sunday Times
'The grande dame of modern Irish literature, Jennifer Johnston has been writing superior fictions, that both embody the wounds of Irish life and scrutinise themes beyond its orbit, for over a quarter of a century. THE GINGERBREAD WOMAN continues her theme of the search for personal freedom... Exceptionally gifted in structuring her narrative so that the reader is compelled to discover the secrets that scar her protagonists, Johnston is also blessed with an understated wisdom, and a heightened understanding of love and loss' Glasgow List
'A superb stylist, humorous, surprising and virtuously plain' Lynne Truss, Sunday Times
'A beautifully crafted novel' Sunday Telegraph
'THE GINGERBREAD WOMAN is characteristic as well as untypical of Johnston, similar yet different. She knows her territory. Probably the most consistently undercelebrated of Irish writers, her genius lies in her calm, intelligence and her distinctive feel for the way an individual will act in an extreme emotional crisis.... Jennifer Johnston has always demonstrated an exact understanding of the cultural nuances of Irish life as well as the perceptions, even textures, that go into being Irish. Few Irish writers have pursued these questions so intently. Aside from all this, THE GINGERBREAD WOMAN reiterates she remains, as ever, a shrewd, canny storyteller who understands human error' Eileen Battersby, Irish Times
'As in all her best novels, Johnston's vividly immediate effects belie the simple elements from which they are created. And although the book is firmly rooted in character, place and time, its reach extends well beyond the particular into the universal territory of classic storytelling' Spectator
'This is the first Jennifer Johnston book I have read, but after sampling the intriguing characters and rich diversity of THE GINGERBREAD WOMAN, I have to admit I'm hooked... Jennifer Johnston presents two very strong, uncompromising characters, thrown together by chance and forming an inextricable bond; one exists to help the other. This is a powerful, moving novel which I found impossible to put down. If anything, it ended too soon' The Irish World
'One of Ireland's most talented writers... THE GINGERBREAD WOMAN is another fine novel from a polished and sophisticated writer. The intelligence of Johnston's writing, the strength of her characterisation and the power of her dialogue all combine to make the book a strong addition to the Johnston collection' Sunday Business Post
'The Gingerbread Woman is allegorical and poignant and acutely perceptive, crafted by a seventy-year-old mistress of words who refuses o bow to the purists in observing rigid rules of writing. All the confidence of a 12-times novelist shines through her simple and sometimes verbless sentences that ring with truth and beauty. Like Clara Barry, whose mother bakes cream sponges and gingerbread men, she was born to haunt' Irish Independent
'I was entranced... An abrasive study of love and grief' Elspeth Barker, Independent on Sunday, Books of the Year
'Johnston is at her storytelling best... An engaging and accessible novel, and those familiar with Jennifer Johnston's later writing will not be disappointed' TLS
Author Bio
Jennifer Johnston is one of the foremost Irish writers of her, or any, generation. She has won the Whitbread Prize (THE OLD JEST), the Evening Standard Best First Novel Award (for THE CAPTAINS AND THE KINGS), the Yorkshire Post Award, Best Book of the Year (twice, for THE CAPTAINS AND THE KINGS and HOW MANY MILES TO BABYLON?). She was also shortlisted for the Booker Prize with SHADOWS ON OUR SKIN.