God on the Rocks

God on the Rocks With the birth of her baby brother eight year old Margaret Marsh is banished from the house every Wednesday afternoon to enjoy the idyllic English seaside at peace between the world wars with the fam

  • Title: God on the Rocks
  • Author: Jane Gardam
  • ISBN: 9780349114064
  • Page: 287
  • Format: Paperback
  • With the birth of her baby brother, eight year old Margaret Marsh is banished from the house every Wednesday afternoon to enjoy the idyllic English seaside at peace between the world wars with the family s new, young, and bawdy maid Largely ignored, the child has all the freedom she needs to observe and quietly condemn the adults around her Gardam s novel, originally pubWith the birth of her baby brother, eight year old Margaret Marsh is banished from the house every Wednesday afternoon to enjoy the idyllic English seaside at peace between the world wars with the family s new, young, and bawdy maid Largely ignored, the child has all the freedom she needs to observe and quietly condemn the adults around her Gardam s novel, originally published in the UK in 1978, offers a searing blend of upended morals, delayed salvation, and emotional purgatory, especially where love and sex are concerned Margaret s mother, Elinor, begins to lose the faith thrust upon her by her zealot husband, who is bent on the conversion of the young maid, despite protest from both women How perfect, then, that Mrs Marsh s childhood sweetheart should return to town and provide a decidedly secular contrast to her saintly husband After a pivotal tea party, everyone hurtles toward inevitable tragedy, with Gardam s intricate prose and keen divining of human nature driving the action.

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      Published :2019-02-03T17:43:05+00:00

    1 thought on “God on the Rocks”

    1. Another one from the 1978 Booker shortlist. This was a very enjoyable read, but one which seems impossible to compare objectively with the last one I read, Rumours Of Rain - reading the two consecutively just makes you realise what a difficult job the judges have. Set in a Northern seaside town between the wars, the first part of the book is told from the point of view of Margaret, a precocious eight-year old who is starting to see beyond the strict religious indoctrination she has been brought [...]

    2. An exceptional book - one that defies genre. The novel, set during one summer on the coast of England in the 1930s, focuses primarily on 8 year-old Margaret Marsh, the daughter of a bank manager who preaches the gospel on "the sands" in his spare time and a mother who is a large, soft, submissive dreamer-type. The point of view is omniscient, and although we are in Margaret's keenly intelligent world for a good long time, the story drifts (sometimes jarringly) into the minds and hearts of others [...]

    3. Renoir, Young Girl in the Garden at Mézy, 1891Written in the 1970s but set forty years earlier, this is one of those quiet, revelatory novels of family secrets and childhood understanding whose sensitivity to melancholy seems so well-suited to that period in Britain between the wars.It's a lovely novel. Though no passages of writing leapt out at me, I'm left with a strong jumble of impressions of English seaside towns, men picking through the surf with trouser-legs rolled up and knotted handker [...]

    4. Well, add this to my growing list of Gardam books read and enjoyed. Gardam has a way of viewing everyday people and finding their warts, displaying them lovingly, and making their stories fun to read, with a combination of the comic and pathos. There are some broadly comic moments in this novel but also lots of soul searching as the characters try to figure out how their lives have led to the current point.I recommend reading and enjoying.

    5. My Dad has always been a great sports fan. When I was young, the TV stayed on all Saturday afternoon, which meant that I was exposed from an early age to a litany of magical names: Plumpton, Pontefract and Newbury, Hexham, Fakenham, Taunton. The winners were even more exotic: Humble Pie beat Mother's Pride, Redhotfillypepper came in third. There was a comment at the end of every result that intrigued me as a kid. "Five ran". I was convinced it meant that five of the horses had been disqualified [...]

    6. I am going to start by advising against choosing the audiobook narrated by Maggie Ollerenshaw. Her narration got between me and the author’s words. I found myself listening to the intonation rather than the specific words. I became confused about who was talking. There is a lot of dialog, and colloquialisms abound. On one hand this is good because such augments the atmosphere, but at times I failed to understand what was inferred. The intonation enhances this problem; in dialogs words are too [...]

    7. This was the first of the books I read as part of a group project to read through the 1978 Booker prize shortlist. It was surprisingly good; I think I had some mistaken idea that Jane Gardam wrote children's books and not serious lit. The parts I liked best were those filtered through the pov of Margaret when she was a child. This strategy is something that sometimes works (Bowen's the House in Paris) and sometimes doesn't (cf. What Maisie Knew, which I found pretty terrible), but it works brill [...]

    8. I have not read a five-star book in a while and I am glad that this book was still lying around after my wife had read it and other books by Ms. Gardam.I think of "God on the Rocks" as an understated comedy. At the beautiful, well crafted ending, loose ends in the lives of the characters, living and dead, are tied up, and life histories and resolutions are summed up. For example, the revelation of who Mr. Beezer-Iremonger actually is. For example, the fulfillment and onward movement of Charles a [...]

    9. If you haven't read any of Jane Gardam's books, you are missing a real reader's delight. GOD ON THE ROCKS is one of the earlier ones. It was short-listed for the Booker Award. I became so enamored of her work after reading her triology: OLD FILTH; THE MAN IN THE WOODEN HAT; and LAST FRIENDS, all of which struck me as genial, humorous and wonderfully constructed. I became a "groupie," so to speak. Ms. Gardam is one of Britain's unrevealed literary treasures and her work has won numerous awards, i [...]

    10. I loved this book so much, I am now nonplussed, and can barely make any sense with my words of praise.The humor, so divine. (Oops--I think I just unintenionally made a pun, considering some of the subject matter of this novel.)The thing I love most about Jane Gardam's writing, is that she pokes fun at each of her characters. So, you have some fun, as the reader, in seeing these flaws and laughing at their foibles.Yet while this poking fun is going on, one also cannot help but fall in love with e [...]

    11. What I love about Gardam is that her characters are often surprising. There is no cheap psychology at work. They are credible because they are not predictable.Here and there a sentence will stop you cold, like, "Still and quiet and almost looking flimsily aged at ten years old she had loved him and he had the blessing of having someone it was quite safe to hurt."This about two children who were friends.The thing with Gardam is that the characters are so recognizable, and might reveal something a [...]

    12. Ooo. Oooh! Excellent. A summer in north England between the Wars, a precocious young girl and the horrible adults who surround her; a puritanical father, a weak mother, a lascivious nanny, a bunch of other less than lovely, though sympathetic and understandable, characters. This is very well written, but rarer (at least among a lot of the books I find myself reading) it is masterfully plotted, offering the sort of narrative anticipation that high literature often feels like it doesn't need to bo [...]

    13. Thanks to the overwhelming popularity of Old Filth, Jane Gardham is at last finding her earlier works being reissued and made available. Although written thirty years before Atonement, this book shares similarities in that they both deal with how misinterpretations from the past can affect the present, and regrets for actions taken can leave unhealed wounds. Gardham releases information only as needed with an economy of purpose so there is not an unnecessary word. Her characters are filled with [...]

    14. Margaret is a precociously intelligent 8 year old who has been raised in a strictly religious family. She can recite chapter and verse from the bible to cover most situations and has an insight beyond her years as well as the naïveté of a child. She weaves her way into the lives of the other characters who, as always with Jane Gardam, are a bit off the wall, particularly the delightful Lydia. It's classic Gardam through and through with lots of twists and turns along the way. I've given it 3 s [...]

    15. A finalist for the Booker Prize in 1978, God on the Rocks once again showcases the substantial storytelling and writing skills of Jane Gardam. I can use the expression “once again” because: 1.) I only heard about her less than a month ago when I received her first book, “A Long Way from Verona” 2.) This is the third book of hers I have read in the past 19 days and 3.) I am hoping she reads my reviews and contacts me for a cup of tea and a little chat about her books.This novel takes plac [...]

    16. Jane Gardam's books are a treat. She is funny, she is wicked, she is smart and oh so sly. I felt this when reading her wonderful book, Filth and its sequel, and I felt it now, reading God on the Rocks. The story begins innocently enough being told from the point of view of Margaret, an 8 year old, whose mother lavishes her attentions on her new baby brother. Her father is strict in his strange faith and preaches to all and sundry. Margaret can quote chapter and verse of every biblical saying. Th [...]

    17. Jane Gardam is again good for a psychological story of families and interpersonal relationships. God on the Rocks is set between word wars in an English village occupied by a group of extremely devout, daresay fringe, Christians. Margaret's father is one of their leaders, and the reader explores her mother's choice to join this group when she gets to know Mrs. Marsh's childhood friends, Charles and Binkie. There are secrets everywhere but in a traditional Gardam way that is more a reflection of [...]

    18. wonderful little book of manners set in northern england, complete with Cambridge grad washouts, Saints-on-earth preachers, precocious little girls, and very little sex (but enough it seems). if you have not read any Gardam, you should soond Jane Gardam would be a great author for Miette's bedtime stories podcastsmiettecast/fernando pessoa is her latest "Letter from a Hunchback Girl to a Metalworker"she's a person too/user/show/80

    19. I loved this book---thought it was delightful and fun to read. The characters were of a time period and group that was new to me and I was intrigued. This was the last book I read from my friend Doris' list, who is/was a very discerning reader, and by golly, if she really likes a book I'm likely to like it as well.

    20. The characters were vaguely interesting, but the book didn't really go anywhere. Call me crazy, but when I'm promised a twist in the plot, I'd like it to be interesting. This was a huge disappointment.

    21. If you enjoy BBC situational comedies (although misfortune always lurks nearby) with quirky characters and humor I advise you to track down this book by Jane Gardam. Nine-year-old Margaret Marsh tries to understand the adult world around her. It's not easy. Her father is a soapbox preacher who has made sure Margaret knows her Bible verses, and she uses them in quite ingenious, yet innocent, ways. She has lived a sheltered life in the care of her mother. Until family life changes. "Because the ba [...]

    22. This is a curious but very original little novel. It’s mostly told through the eyes of a seven-year-old girl, but it’s never cute or fey. The girl, Margaret, is being raised in a strictly religious family, and she can quote Bible verses in a kind of private shorthand. She looks around, sees everything and accepts it all at face value, and tries to fit it into the Biblical references she’s been given. As the novel begins, Margaret has acquired a nanny, Lydia. Once a week, they go off togeth [...]

    23. Set in northern England between the two world wars, this engaging novel was a finalist for the Booker Prize in 1978. It’s told from the point of view of a precocious 8 yr-old child and while I usually dislike books written by authors who try (unsuccessfully) to portray the world through children’s eyes, this one was well worth my time. The book begins with Margaret announcing that because her baby brother had been born, she was to spend the afternoon with the family’s lusty maid Lydia who [...]

    24. In God on the Rocks bit by vague bit the reader slowly learns more about the relationships, especially between the members of two families within a English seaside town, until it all becomes clear in the end, with a few surprises thrown in for delectable measure. Gardam's prose is limpid, never fussy or overwrought. The dialogue is at times maddeningly, tantalizingly evasive and vague. Most of the this summer world is viewed through the lens of an eight year old girl, Margaret, whose father insi [...]

    25. I found this to be an unusual book. It was difficult to get into, mostly because the characters initially introduced, Margaret Marsh, Lydia (the maid), Elinor Marsh and Mr Marsh (I've forgotten his name) were all rather prickly, and without much charm. Events are presented in snapshots and the reader is left to string them together and to work out how the various characters relate to each other. The Marsh's are a religious family but it is apparent early on that Elinor is unhappy in her marriage [...]

    26. The third of Gardam's novels I have read (Old FILTH, Queen of the Tambourines), this proved to be every bit as enjoyable as the first two. Overall this was a nuanced commentary about class and privilege (particularly in the UK), morals and religion, as well as love, told in an unbelievably brief 200 or so pages primarily told through the perspective of an 8 year old girl named Margaret living in england whose symbiotic orbit from her mother has been newly disrupted by the birth of a baby boy. To [...]

    27. Can a book be too English? That was the question another reviewer had about Jane Gardam’s acclaimed 1978 novel, God on the Rocks. The question struck a respondent chord with me because although I have been transported by the later novels of Ms. Gardam, this one failed to move me. Gardam’s skill and imagination are evident as are her quirky plot twists. For me, God on the Rocks is too English. What I mean is the characters lapse into local idioms frequently, and they stay in a claustrophobica [...]

    28. 1978Good book, less than 200 pages of large type, great writing.Succinct. Yet detailed. I will read her other books as well. Maybe even her short stories, maybe even her teen or pre-teen books which she started her writing career with.Main character, though there are many, is an 8 year old girl. Story seems to be set in 1936, and Gardam herself was 8 that year -- so Yet only parts of the book approach autobiographical, it seems.She really re-creates the time and place and manners, from the over- [...]

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