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Woodward, Gerard

(British, 1961– )

Woodward has published award-winning poetry and his novels have also attracted critical acclaim. August (2001) chronicles the lives (and particularly the summer holidays, camping in Wales) of the Jones family through the 1960s; patient, tolerant teacher Aldous, his erratic glue-sniffing wife Colette, and their four children. I'll Go to Bed at Noon (2004, Booker shortlisted) follows the family into the 1970s, as their alcohol-soaked lives become increasingly tragic and blackly comic. Colette has shifted her allegiance from glue to barley wine; Janus, the eldest son, is a brilliant pianist and an erratic and violent drunk; Colette's widower brother drinks himself to death. The characters are continually surprising, and there are wonderful comic moments.

A. L. Kennedy, Carol Birch  JR

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Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionBooks & Authors: Award-Winning Fiction (Tr-Z)