A Spell of Winter is a gothic novel by Helen Dunmore, set in England, around the time of World War I. The novel was the first recipient of the Orange Prize. A Spell of Winter: A Novel [Helen Dunmore] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. The inaugural winner of England’s prestigious Orange Prize, . “Not many novels grab the reader’s lapels with the opening sentence, but Helen Dunmore’s A Spell of Winter is surely one We plunge.

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Their mother abandons the family home when they are children and their father dies, leaving them to grow up heleen a decaying mansion cut off from the rest of the world.

A life in writing: Helen Dunmore | Books | The Guardian

The writing is extraordinary, but the story lacked for me. I loved A Spell of Winter. I read this book awhile ago but it fit so perfectly into my new “Gothic Nouveau” category that I couldn’t quite resist writing a little something about it. But when or relationship begins to break down, Catherine alone must reconstruct the fragments of her life. It is, Dunmore says, “a lovely place to write. We have our social rituals and literary prizes are one of them.

Of all Helen Dunmore’s books, this is my very favourite. This haunting and evocative novel was the first Orange Prize Winner and set a high standard for future hopefuls. I wanted us to wake to a kingdom of ice where our breath would turn to icicles as it left our lips, and we would walk through tunnels of snow winetr the outhouses and find birds fallen dead from the air.

Her style isn’t to everyone’s taste.

Did it take chutzpah, to put words in the mouth dinter one of her literary heroes? My winter excitement quickened each year with the approach of darkness.

It might have been stronger had the approach of WW1 been heralded earlier, and had the impact dubmore that conflict not so radically separated the ending pages from the rest, but this is a relatively small flaw. B, who was writing Women in Lovemay or may not have been having a relationship with a nearby farmer; the couple were persecuted by the locals, and finally ousted by the armed forces on account of Frieda’s suspicious heritage. But the sexual frankness belongs to a much later period still, and there is also a modern sensibility in funmore heroine’s path to self-realization, not through others but on h Return to Bronte Country If one of the Brontes had written a novel set a century later, would it have turned out like this?


Originally, I was drawn into Dunmore’s writing style as it creates definite ambiance – think Jane Eyre. This was another researched novel, which grew from a lifelong love of Russian history, culture and literature. Nov 05, Juushika rated it liked it Shelves: They are on their way, with Miss Gallagher, to visit their father in the sanatorium. During the s and early s I taught poetry and creative writing, tutored residential writing courses for the Arvon Foundation and took part in the Poetry Society’s Writer in Schools scheme, as well as giving readings and workshops in schools, hospitals, prisons and every other kind of place where a poem could conceivably be welcome.

The main narrator is Catherine but she is unreliable, vague and at times, totally removed from what has really taken place. But the book only floats along–surprisingly explicit in some aspects, it still leaves too many secrets to linger in implication; its tone is always cold, dreamy, disconnected, and its impact follows suit.

I’d had that with the poetry, but with prose I’d always somehow felt as if I were standing in my own way. You can’t see it from above. And then Cathy finally meets up with her mother again, but we never find out why the mother left in the first place? My third novel, A Spell of Winter, won the inaugural Orange Prize for Fiction inand since then I have published a number of novels, short story collections and books for children.

Sep 06, Brianne rated it it was ok. It’s a bit of a demanding read–Dunmore leaps across time and space, her narrative mirroring the way people think, but as a result, you are immersed completely. Dunmore didn’t publish her first novel, Zennor in Darknessuntilwhen she was I know the author is under no obligation to give her readers a happy ending, and I’m not sure how it could have happened in this case, but the story’s resolution was just so disappointing and unsa I hated the ending of this story.

Not surprised it won Orange Prize all those years ago. Apr 13, Lezanne Clannachan rated it it was amazing. I will read another of Dunmore’s novels. Sep 27, Toocutedobs rated it did not like it. While the world appears to have opened out from the narrow limits imposed by the blockade, Dunmore reveals that in many ways it remains just as constrained: She is abandoned many times during her life, but her resilient nature, whether through necessity or tenacity, keeps her going.


The Siege has been translated into Russian by Tatyana Averchina, and extracts have been broadcast on radio in St Petersburg.

Am I just too cynical? You also gelen to understand very early that stories hold quite different meanings for different listeners, and can be recast from many viewpoints.

An unsettling spelll with great characters and description. It is easy for me to see why this novel won a prize. Threads collapsed expanded unthreaded.

A Spell of Winter

Het sterkst zijn voor mij de beschrijvingen van de winter en van het innerlijk gevoelsleven van Cathy. Young Catherine says her favorite season is winter, and winter descends on her.

Full details of all these books are available on this website. Het verhaal gaat verder, maar de kracht is er uit. This morning the ice on my basin of water is so thick I can not break it. But such aesthetic distance has no place in her novels.


As a character, Cathy is complicated. Not really, she says: It was a huge vote of confidence. Maar dan vertrekken Rob en Kate naar Canada – de microcosmos tussen de personages wordt verbroken en de wereld erbuiten WO1 komt in het verhaal – en dan valt ook de spanning in het boek weg.

It was something we lugged about, as heavy as a sack of rotting apples. Dunmore creates suspense, intrigue, and taboo scenes seamlessly through most of the text, then it is as if she seriously did not know what else to write about.

There were two Helen Dunmore books I wanted to read this year — The Siege, which I found to be a wonderful read, and this one, the winner of the inaugural Orange Prize in