Author(s): Jennie Rooney
Stephanie Sandford, recently widowed, must tell her family the truth - but the past is indistinct and it's complicated. First, there was her mum, who developed an anxious streak after marrying the wrong Reg. Then there was the young man from the dairy who taught Stevie to swim and broke her heart. War came, and four years spent chopping root vegetables in the canteen of the Sun Pat peanut factory on the Old Kent Road, followed by wet London nights, with the Doodle Bugs slipping through the sky like huge silvery fish. It's not until Stevie's under an umbrella with Jonathan that Stevie finally starts to sense safety.Meanwhile, Michael Royston's memories are squashed into a shoebox (along with Queen Matilda's Dicken Medal for bravery) ready for his move into hospital. Years ago, he trained military carrier pigeons for the Royal Corps of Signals in Cairo yet his own homecoming has taken a lifetime. Michael has never been good at putting things into words; he's more comfortable with the click of Morse code. But Anna, a young healthcare assistant, has the patience - and rare tenderness - to eke out his story. And so he begins.
Inside the Whale marks the arrival of a blazing new talent: fizzing with eclectic characters and poignant imagery, Jennie Rooney's heart-wrenching debut novel is a story to relish, and a book you'll want to recommend with passion to everyone you know.
Shortlisted for Costa First Novel Award 2008 and Galaxy British Book Awards: Waterstone's New Writer of the Year 2009.
"Full of wisdom and panache, Jennie Rooney's poignant, moving, clear-eyed account of love and war, personal sacrifice and private pain, is a novel to truly move the spirit."
-- Liz Jensen
"A work of a singularly outlandish and compassionate imagination. . . . has one shouting its praises to anybody who is within earshot."
-- "New Statesman"
"Elegant, funny and moving . . . a wonderful, memorable musing on life, fate and love."
-- "Sunday Express" (UK)
"From the Trade Paperback edition."
Jennie Rooney was born in Liverpool in 1980. She read History at the University of Cambridge and taught English in France before moving to London to work as a lawyer. Inside the Whale is her first novel.