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  • Virago

Tortoise By Candlelight

Nina Bawden

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Virago Modern Classics, Fiction, Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)

An exceptional picture of disorganised family life ... Imaginative, tender, with a welcome undercurrent of toughness' Observer

With the ferocity of a mother tiger defending her cubs, fourteen-year-old Emmie Bean watches over her household: her amiable drunken father, her gaunt, evangelical old grandmother, her beautiful, wayward sister Alice and most precious of all, eight-year-old Oliver, who has the countenance of an angel and the ethical sense of a cobra. But with the arrival of new neighbours, the outside world intrudes into the isolated privacy of family life and Emmie's kingdom is no longer secure. Combining the guile of a young child with the desperation of adolescence, Emmie fights to stave off the changes- and the revelations- that growing up necessarily brings. Powerful, heart-rending, but never sentimental, Tortoise by Candlelight is a captivating excursion into the landscape of youth.

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Nina Bawden

Nina Bawden was created a CBE in 1994. Virago publish 10 of her adult books, including BIRDS ON THE TREES and THE ICE HOUSE, as well as her successful autobiography, IN MY OWN TIME.

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