Maggie Gee (Virginia Woolf in Manhattan, 2019) has published fifteen books to great acclaim, and her work has been translated into fourteen languages. One of Granta's original 'Best Young British Novelists' (1983, with William Boyd, Kazuo Ishiguro, Julian Barnes), she has been shortlisted for major prizes including the Orange (now the Women's) Prize, the IMPAC and been a Booker Prize judge. The first professional writer in her family and from the first generation to go to university (Academic Scholar, Somerville College, University of Oxford), she was the first female Chair of the UK Royal Society of Literature, and is now one of its Vice-Presidents. Gee works as a Professor of Creative Writing at Bath Spa University, writes novels and journalism, and is a Director of the Authors' Licensing and Collecting Society. The Queen awarded her an OBE for Services to Literature in 2012.
"An astonishing book. Funny and fierce, written with style and dash, without fear." --Hilary Mantel "An awesome literary achievement: you laugh, you cry, most of all you think. Gloriously rich and readable." -- Fay Weldon "A marvel, nothing less. Blood, so wonderfully, startlingly unlike any novel I have ever read that I'm a bit stunned into unaccustomed wordlessness. Such a voice, such a memorable creation. Monica is one of the great characters of fiction. An extraordinary feat." --Lyndall Gordon "Maggie Gee's latest blackly comic creation is an unforgettable character. Gee cleverly blends nimble, sometimes slapstick humour with an affecting commentary on the corrosive legacy of violence, both verbal and physical." The Times "[Blood] lives through Monica's remarkable voice. There's a lot of enjoyment to be had from this extravagant novel." Allan Massie, The Scotsman "Gee's gripping new novel is a macabre comedy-thriller is interwoven with references to a Brexit-broken Britain and laugh-out-loud passages." The Sunday Times "An intriguing meditation on vengeance versus forgiveness - a hilarious whodunnit and political satire" Guardian "An astonishing book: a Gothic black comedy set in an angry, anarchic, Brexit Britain, which is like no other novel I have ever read. I laughed a lot but hope readers will be jolted into thinking hard and carefully about today's Britain -- just as [Gee] has spent the last five years living in a literary world fuelled by rage and terrorism." Jackie McGlone, Herald "A festive, anarchic spirit presides. The narrative is lovely in its picture of emotions. The Ludds are the family from hell, but they're also Everyfamily, where love and bits of hate have to fight it out." Literary Review "Deliciously dark. Blood is exquisitely written with a melodic ear for language. Redemption, when it finally comes, is all the sweeter for the darkness that precedes it." WI Magazine Kirkus Reviews (05/01/2019): What should Monica Ludd, the fearless sister to five other Ludd siblings, do when she finds their horrible father beaten to a pulp? And what does the dysfunctional Ludd family's predicament tell us about Brexit Britain? "The Ludds. Artistes of awfulness" is how noted British novelist Gee (Virginia Woolf in Manhattan, 2014, etc.) introduces the bizarre family around which she builds her tragicomedy of revenge. Monica, 38, 6-foot-1, "an amazon, strong, deep-chested, solid haunches," narrates the book, haunted by the fearsome childhood she endured. Her twin brothers, Boris and Angus, "two jut-jawed Herculeses," their wand-thin model sister, Fairy, and another sister, glamazon Anthea, lived in dread of their cruel father, Albert, whose pitilessness forced the last child, Fred, into the army; he was killed in Afghanistan. But for all her power, Monica is not quite as tough as she seems. Discovering Albert's bloody, smashed-up body after a party to celebrate Fred's life, she flees, beginning a chain of farcical events that exposes both her resourcefulness and her vulnerability. The Ludds live in Thanet, a spit of land in southern England, "the end and beginning of Britain," and Gee's nonstop procession of grotesques, slapstick, and sideswipes at Brexit and domestic terrorism attempts to point up connections between violence in personal relationships and other, larger scenarios. Lurid and breathless, driven by galumphing characters and some belly laughs, this furious tale of brutal times and remedies doesn't quite make that link, but the wild ride, underpinned by its author's sharp perceptions, entertains quite a bit. A horror movie-esque last act sees the family coming together to defeat oppression and Monica transformed at last from lone warrior to larger-than-life local hero. Even if the novel can seem unsettled, she's irresistible. A vibrant parable of abuse and survival, stronger on the family front than the national one. COPYRIGHT(2019) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Publishers Weekly (05/20/2019): The family of teacher Monica Ludd, the 37-year-old narrator of this amusing, psychologically attuned crime novel from British author Gee (The White Family), is headed by her father, Albert, a dentist in Thanet, Kent, who sexually abuses his patients and cheats the government. Albert has raised six children, torturing them verbally and physically. Monica is preparing to throw a party honoring her younger brother, Fred, who was killed in Afghanistan. She plans a speech blaming Albert for Fred's death, because Albert bullied him into becoming a soldier. Her plans, however, go awry: Albert fails to come to the party, and Monica threatens in front of witnesses to kill him. The next morning, Monica goes to his house, armed with an ax, only to find her father already dead, slaughtered in his bed. Gee poses the question: is Monica culpable because she wanted to commit the crime but failed to execute it, or did she actually do it? The reader goes back and forth, not knowing what to believe. One doesn't have to be a mystery fan to appreciate this beautifully crafted and provocative tale. (July) Copyright 2019 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission. Shelf Awareness (07/09/2019): Maggie Gee's Blood could be called an unorthodox thriller, a black comedy or representative of any number of other genres. For many American readers, it will be an introduction to the acclaimed author of 15 books published in the U.K. The genre may be difficult to place, but it's easy to see Gee's strengths, particularly in her characters. The novel is told primarily from the perspective of Monica Ludd, a gigantic, buxom woman from a family haunted by the abuse and cruelty meted out by their physically imposing father on his wife and children. When the father is attacked, Monica becomes the chief suspect. Blood's plot is not particularly twisty--despite the novel's short length, there are passages where Monica meditates on her twisted childhood and a country thrown into turmoil by Brexit and terrorist attacks. What carries the book is Monica's perspective: equal parts rude, funny, fearful, literate and randy. Monica is an unusual but effective vehicle for a conversation about the legacy of abuse and violence. The contradictory aspects of her character echo the difficulty of the topic. At one point, Monica reminds the reader that her father always "adored" her mother in the midst of relating the ways he tormented her: "Yes, I know, it's complicated; life's complicated, get over it." Instead of twists and turns, Gee immerses the reader in dread. Her father's fate uncertain, Monica fears that he will return and continue his reign of terror. Blood asks whether a monster can be stopped without further monstrous violence. COPYRIGHT(2019) Shelf Awareness, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Praise for Maggie Gee's writing "A wise and beautiful book about what it feels like to be alive." Zadie Smith on My Animal Life "Hang on to your hats, [Virginia Woolf in Manhattan] is a joy" Jane Gardam, author of Old Filth "I love the work of Maggie Gee: wickedly smart, funny and fearless, plus that rarest of all things, genuinely surprising. Read her." Patrick Ness "Worldly, witty, enjoyable, impressive." Doris Lessing "Maggie Gee has never written better." Rose Tremain "Excellent ... Exciting stuff." Fay Weldon "A tour de force - brilliantly structured, surprising, humane, and suspenseful." Elaine Showalter "Brilliant ... just brilliant ... deserves to be published in every language." Hillary Jordan "Gripping, original and highly entertaining - Maggie Gee at her superb best." J G Ballard "So rich it is almost aromatic ... an impressive and important novel." Nigella Lawson "Outstanding ... tender, sexy and alarming." Jim Crace "Audacious, playful and dazzlingly written." The Herald "Wickedly funny ... contains lines that sparkle." Sunday Telegraph "This giddily playful novel is cunning what if ... A gloriously funny, fleet-footed novel." Metro Best Summer Reads "A witty book ... It's got everything in a novel that I really like." Jacqueline Wilson's Six Best Books, Express "Dazzling ... alternately lyrical and austere ... unbearably touching." The Observer "For all its passion and intricacy, is also a very funny book . . . rewarding . . . carefully written, using language echoing the water that ebbs and flows, and eventually floods the pages." TLS "Sublimely funny and infinitely subtle, pure delight." Daily Telegraph "Energetic and beguiling." Sunday Telegraph "Up there with Orwell and Huxley." Jeremy Paxman BBC "Maggie Gee is one of our most ambitious novelists." Sunday Times "Excellent ... Exciting stuff." Fay Weldon "A tour de force - brilliantly structured, surprising, humane, and suspenseful" Elaine Showalter "Brilliant ... just brilliant ... deserves to be published in every language." Hillary Jordan "Gripping, original and highly entertaining - Maggie Gee at her superb best." J G Ballard "So rich it is almost aromatic ... an impressive and important novel." Nigella Lawson "Outstanding ... tender, sexy and alarming." Jim Crace "Audacious, playful and dazzlingly written." The Herald "For all its passion and intricacy, is also a very funny book . . . rewarding . . . carefully written, using language echoing the water that ebbs and flows, and eventually floods the pages." TLS "Sublimely funny and infinitely subtle, pure delight." Daily Telegraph "Energetic and beguiling." Sunday Telegraph "A fantastic book." Mariella Frostrup BBC "She writes elegantly, unsentimentally, expertly." The Independent "This beautifully observed, intelligent and moving novel is one of those rare things - a small, carefully wrapped surprise that gets better and better with the unravelling.' The Scotsman "A moving, funny, engrossing book." The Observer "A rattling good page-turning yarn." George Melly "Mordantly witty, unsparing, politically savvy, a beautifully clear and bracing vision." TLS "One of the year's finest novels." Literary Review "Compulsively readable." The Guardian "Astonishing ... beautifully written." Big Issue "A transcendent work." Daily Telegraph "Intensely touching." Financial Times "This beautifully observed, intelligent and moving novel is one of those rare things - a small, carefully wrapped surprise that gets better and better with the unravelling." The Scotsman "Maggie Gee is superb. Elegant, humorous and surprising, this is a classy performance." The Times "A moving, funny, engrossing book." The Observer "A remarkable and ambitious book, a tribute to Maggie Gee's imaginative power." Literary Review "The most exhilarating novel I've read all year." Scotland on Sunday "Maggie Gee's immense talent catches passion on the wing ... a romance of a truth and depth that's never without humour." Mail on Sunday