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Jane Gardam (Jane Mary Gardam), née Pearson Biography

(1928– ), (Jane Mary Gardam), née Pearson, A Few Fair Days, A Long Way from Verona

novels stories literary children

British novelist, born in Coatham, Yorkshire, educated at Bedford College, London University. Her first published work, A Few Fair Days (1971), was a children's book based on her own childhood experiences on the north-east coast of England. She has written several other children's books; her novels A Long Way from Verona (1971), The Summer After the Funeral (1973), and Bilgewater (1977), all with teenage protagonists, are characterized by their combination of literary allusion and dramatic emotional scenes. Her adult novels, God on the Rocks (1978) and Crusoe's Daughter (1988), also depend on literary sources—Emily Brontë and Daniel Defoe—for their portrayal of the repressed romantic child at the mercy of her more worldly elders. This theme recurs in her short stories, The Sidmouth Letters (1980), The Pangs of Love (1983), and Showing the Flag (1989). The stories in Going into a Dark House (1994) are preoccupied with the familiar themes of death, the elderly, and ghosts through which Gardam observes commonplace suffering. Gardam uses her skills at economical scene-setting and local and period detail to dramatize contrasting milieux or class divisions. Recent novels include The Queen of the Tambourine (1991), an epistolary work transforming comedy into discomfort when a woman's obsessive concern for others heralds her undoing; and Faith Fox (1996).

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