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 . . .
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‘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.
Harris's voice is an original one, and her rollicking yet delicate narrative pitch sets the book apart... This is a true one-off.
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.
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.
Funny and original... What lifts this book out of the ordinary is Bessy's compelling narrative voice.
Bessy’s robust narrative is by turns intriguing, alarming and very funny… The Observations adds up to entertainment of a high order.
Throughout 400 pages of mystery and intrigue, it is not the flawless plot that leaves the reader rapt but instead, Bessy’s comic observations.
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