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This is a story of two young people who fall in love – and then life gets in the way.
Ursula is part dreamer, part radical in the making. Raised in a matriarchal household by a CND-loving activist, she is impatient to begin a life of adventure. But this is Newcastle in the mid-80s where girls are getting permed and their dreams go no further than copping off down the Bigg Market. Then Ursula meets Jerry, a class warrior from the wrong side of town, intellectually hungry, erudite and ambitious. It is a meeting of bodies, souls, minds and ideals. Keen to pursue the road less travelled, Ursula heads to India while Jerry goes to Oxford and the promise of politics and power. But Ursula’s family is clouded with secrets, and the past threatens to repeat itself. As Ursula searches for answers, she is soon drifting – and Jerry loses touch. What happens to young love when it is tested by real life?
In this second novel from the acclaimed author of The Whole Wide Beauty, Emily Woof interweaves across generations asking us to question the nature of love in all its forms.
Woof finds humour and poignancy in the gulf between how things are and how they ought to be.
[A] comical, self-aware novel...Woof is a storyteller and you can tell this from the first few pages. The Lightning Tree doesn't commit to being a comic novel, a narratively adventurous or a wildly philosophical one, but takes the best aspects of each and plaits them into this clever and touching story.
Woof's lyrical storytelling moves effectively through time and place, interweaving Ursula and Jerry's futures as well as what came before them ... the result is transcendent. What unfolds is a story not just of young love but of how to cope when it is lost and shattered.
[An] indubitable talent.
The sheer brilliance of Woof's prose pulls you into the story ... [T]he vigour and humour of The Lightning Tree make it a winner.
An unusual but convincing love story that charts the often-distant lives of her two distinctive and appealing characters, written with wit and a lyrical flourish.
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