Faber Members get 10% off their first order

The Observations

Jane Harris

The Observations by Jane Harris is a darkly humorous and intriguing story of one woman’s journey from a difficult past into an even more disturbing present . . .

2 in stock

Date Published
All orders are sent via Royal Mail and are tracked: choose from standard or premium delivery.

‘Vastly original… Bessy is surely one of the most striking characters in recent fiction: cynical, disruptive, tender and very, very funny.’ Independent on Sunday

Shortlisted for the Orange Prize

Scotland, 1863. In an attempt to escape her past, Bessy Buckley takes a job working as a maid in a big country house. But when Arabella, her beautiful mistress, asks her to undertake a series of bizarre tasks, Bessy begins to realise that she hasn’t quite landed on her feet. In one of the most acclaimed debuts of recent years, Jane Harris has created a heroine who will make you laugh and cry as she narrates this unforgettable story about secrets and suspicions and the redemptive power of love and friendship.

Critic Reviews

Harris's voice is an original one, and her rollicking yet delicate narrative pitch sets the book apart... This is a true one-off.

Joanna Briscoe, Guardian
Critic Reviews

The Observations, which is set in 1863, has all the necessary ingredients for a Rebecca-like absorption… There are enough twists and turns to keep a cynical adult reader up half the night.

Eleanor Byrne, London Review of Books
Critic Reviews

Bessy Buckley can hold her head up with Moll Flanders and Becky Sharp as a living, breathing mortal. What takes one away is [her] earthy voice, clear as a bell, ringing out her tale of love, loss and redemption.

Sarah Burton, The Times
Critic Reviews

Funny and original... What lifts this book out of the ordinary is Bessy's compelling narrative voice.

Peter Parker, Sunday Times
Critic Reviews

Bessy’s robust narrative is by turns intriguing, alarming and very funny… The Observations adds up to entertainment of a high order.

Patricia Craig, Independent
Critic Reviews

Throughout 400 pages of mystery and intrigue, it is not the flawless plot that leaves the reader rapt but instead, Bessy’s comic observations.

Daily Express

Jane Harris was born in Belfast and brought up in Glasgow. Her debut novel, The Observations, was shortlisted for the 2007 Orange Broadband Prize for Fiction, and she was also shortlisted for the British Book Awards Waterstone’s Newcomer of the Year and the South Bank Show/Times Breakthrough Award. It was followed in 2011 by the highly acclaimed Gillespie & I,…

Read More