Catherine Cookson

The Cinder Path

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Santrauka: I have discovered I'm something of a Catherine Cookson fan. The late British novelist was widely read and respected, although perhaps pigeon-holed into what was known as 'women's fiction.' That meaning, I suppose, novels about relationships, with generally happy endings. And certainly that holds true to those I've read. But then, I suppose one might say the same of Jane Austen, or the Bronte sisters. Time alone will tell which writers are still being read in the future. Many fine writers slip into tragic oblivion over time. However, the desire for a good story remains, and Cookson certainly knew how to tell a great tale. Her biography says: Catherine Cookson was born in Tyne Dock, the illegitimate daughter of a poverty-stricken woman, Kate, whom she believed to be her older sister. She began work in service but eventually moved south to Hastings where she met and married a local grammar-school master. At the age of forty she began writing about the lives of the working-class people with whom she had grown up, using the place of her birth as the background to many of her novels. Although originally acclaimed as a regional writer - her novel The Round Tower won the Winifred Holtby award for the best regional novel of 1968 - her readership soon began to spread throughout the world. Her novels have been translated into more than a dozen languages. Thirteen of her novels have been made into successful television dramas, and more are planned. Catherine Cookson's many bestselling novels have established her as one of the most popular of contemporary women novelists. After receiving an OBE in 1985, Catherine Cookson was created a Dame of the British Empire in 1993. She and her husband Tom lived near Newcastle-upon-Tyne until her death on June 11, 1998 All her novels, inspired by her difficult, impoverished childhood, reflected that hardship, and explored the individual's struggle to make sense of his or her past, and to survive it with dignity. While the world she creates is often harsh and cruel, her protagonists are full of life, humor, grit and generosity. There is an undeniable power to her work, and while I know it may be out of fashion to say so, I find them inspiring, as I do the work of Elizabeth Gaskill. In this novel, set again in rural Northumberland, which covers decades from the Edwardian period past World War I, Charlie MacFell, must overcome the ridicule and brutality of his farmer father, who used "the cinder path" to torture and humiliate his son and workers. Charlie grows up being misjudged by family and neighbors as too-soft, a born loser. And then comes the war, and in the horror of the trenches on the Western Front... which changes everything. I will admit that the ending seemed unnecessarily melodramatic and a bit heavy handed with the symbolism, but overall I thoroughly enjoyed it. ( ) Laurenbdavis | Oct 21, 2014 | All member reviews I have discovered I'm something of a Catherine Cookson fan. The late British novelist was widely read and respected, although perhaps pigeon-holed into what was known as 'women's fiction.' That meaning, I suppose, novels about relationships, with generally happy endings. And certainly that holds true to those I've read. But then, I suppose one might say the same of Jane Austen, or the Bronte sisters. Time alone will tell which writers are still being read in the future. Many fine writers slip into tragic oblivion over time. However, the desire for a good story remains, and Cookson certainly knew how to tell a great tale. Her biography says: Catherine Cookson was born in Tyne Dock, the illegitimate daughter of a poverty-stricken woman, Kate, whom she believed to be her older sister. She began work in service but eventually moved south to Hastings where she met and married a local grammar-school master. At the age of forty she began writing about the lives of the working-class people with whom she had grown up, using the place of her birth as the background to many of her novels. Although originally acclaimed as a regional writer - her novel The Round Tower won the Winifred Holtby award for the best regional novel of 1968 - her readership soon began to spread throughout the world. Her novels have been translated into more than a dozen languages. Thirteen of her novels have been made into successful television dramas, and more are planned. Catherine Cookson's many bestselling novels have established her as one of the most popular of contemporary women novelists. After receiving an OBE in 1985, Catherine Cookson was created a Dame of the British Empire in 1993. She and her husband Tom lived near Newcastle-upon-Tyne until her death on June 11, 1998 All her novels, inspired by her difficult, impoverished childhood, reflected that hardship, and explored the individual's struggle to make sense of his or her past, and to survive it with dignity. While the world she creates is often harsh and cruel, her protagonists are full of life, humor, grit and generosity. There is an undeniable power to her work, and while I know it may be out of fashion to say so, I find them inspiring, as I do the work of Elizabeth Gaskill. In this novel, set again in rural Northumberland, which covers decades from the Edwardian period past World War I, Charlie MacFell, must overcome the ridicule and brutality of his farmer father, who used "the cinder path" to torture and humiliate his son and workers. Charlie grows up being misjudged by family and neighbors as too-soft, a born loser. And then comes the war, and in the horror of the trenches on the Western Front... which changes everything. I will admit that the ending seemed unnecessarily melodramatic and a bit heavy handed with the symbolism, but overall I thoroughly enjoyed it. ( )






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