Graham Joyce directs his immense storytelling gifts in an altogether new direction and achieves the most ambitious and psychologically captivating work of his career. As he chronicles the story of the Vine family, the prize-winning author of Smoking Poppy and Indigo invests a bygone era with great authenticity and powerful atmosphere.

Set during and immediately after World War II, The Facts of Life follows the fortunes of Frank Arthur Vine, the result of a tryst between his mother Cassie and an American GI. Because Cassie is too unreliable and unstable to act as his proper guardian, Frank is brought up alternately by his mother's six very different sisters -- each singularly idiosyncratic -- and by his beguiling and charismatic grandmother.

But, as his mother knows, and his grandmother strongly suspects, Frank is no ordinary child.

The Facts of Life takes place in Coventry, in the English Midlands, the notorious target of Hitler's fiercest bombing raid and, some nine centuries earlier, the scene of the infamous Lady Godiva's naked ride through the marketplace. Peopled with entrancing characters, it is an enormously affecting tale of family and sisterhood, of the kindness and the madness of women, of the fantastic breaking through in a troubled world.


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The Facts of Life
by Graham Joyce

Atria Books
June 17, 2004
ISBN #0743463420
256 pages
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Other Books by
Graham Joyce

How to Make Friends with Demons
The Exchange
Smoking Poppy

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