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Dunmore, Helen

house winter nadine story

(British, 1952– )

Helen Dunmore has published poetry, short stories, children's fiction, and novels. In Burning Bright (1994), a young runaway, Nadine, is unknowingly set up for sexual exploitation by her older Finnish lover, Kai, in a decaying Georgian house. Nadine's story is interwoven with that of Enid, an elderly sitting tenant in the house, whose own love-affair years before ended in violence. Dunmore uses poetic language to tell a gripping story about the ruthless exploitation of love and survival of its victims. In A Spell of Winter (1995, Orange Prize) siblings Catherine and Rob are abandoned by their parents and grow up in the house of their sinister grandfather just before the First World War. The atmosphere in this novel is intense, evoked through Dunmore's descriptions of winter on a decaying country estate. The darker elements of family relationships are explored in the context of social isolation. In The Siege (2001), a vividly imagined re-creation of Russian life in 1941, the Levin family struggle to survive the hardships of the Siege of Leningrad.

Alison Fell, Alice Thomas Ellis, Ian McEwan  DJ

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