Also By This Author
“A harrowing and remarkable self-assured first novel [by an author of] copious and galvanic talents.” Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
The Hiding Place
978-0-8021-3859-0 • $13.00 • Paperback • Jan. 2002
A finalist for England’s Booker Prize and a national bestseller in the U.S., The Hiding Place is a searing debut novel about family, love, and the innocence and terror of childhood.
Set in a Maltese immigrant community in Cardiff, Wales, in the 1960s and peopled with sharp-edged, luminously drawn characters, The Hiding Place is the story of Frankie Gauci, his wife, Mary, and their six daughters. It chronicles in graceful language Frankie’s unforgivable betrayal: gambling away his family’s livelihood and eventually the family itself. Called “astonishing and iridescent” by the London Times, The Hiding Place is a mesmerizing exploration of how family, like fire, can shift suddenly from something that provides light and warmth to a dangerous conflagration, sparing no one in its path.
The Gaucis’ story is seen through the eyes of Dolores, the youngest daughter and, in her father’s estimation, the embodiment of bad luck, condemned to bear the mark of a family that is rapidly singeing at the edges. With a lyricism that belies the horrors she so often recounts (“children burnt and children battered: someone must be to blame”), Dolores presents an unsparing portrayal of the fear and hopelessness of childhood amid grim poverty and neglect, of children growing up without safety nets and on sunken foundations.
The Hiding Place conjures the coarse sensuality of life among the docks, the smoky cafés and bars, the crumbling homes and gambling rooms of Tiger Bay. Sustained by a tightrope tension and combining the stark, youthful wisdom and the uncanny, perfect pitch of Susan Minot’s Monkeys with the redemptive liveliness of the downtrodden in Angela’s Ashes, The Hiding Place is a breathtaking, radiant debut.