BOOK REVIEW: Gillespie And I  

Posted by Scott Wilson

Title: Gillespie And I

Author: Jane Harris

Publisher: Allen & Unwin

RRP: $32.99

ISBN: 9780571238279

Release Date: June 2011


As she sits in her Bloomsbury home, with her two birds for company, elderly Harriet Baxter sets out to relate the story of her acquaintance, nearly four decades previously, with Ned Gillespie, a talented artist who never achieved the fame she maintains her deserved.

Back in 1888, the young, art-loving, Harriet arrives in Glasgow at the time of the International Exhibition. After a chance encounter she befriends the Gillespie family ands oon becomes a fixture in all of their lives. But when tragedy strikes - leading to a notorious criminal trial - the promise and certainties of this world all too rapidly disorientate into mystery and deception.

Featuring a memorable cast of characters, infused with atmosphere and period detail, and shot through with wicked humour, Gillespie and I is a tour de force from an emerging writer.

About Jane Harris

Jane Harris was born in Belfast and brought up in Glasgow. In 2007, she was shortlisted for the British Book Awards Waterstone's Newcomer of the Year and the South Bank Show Times Breakthrough Award. Her debut novel, The Observations, was shortlisted for the 2007 Orange Broadband Prize for Fiction. She lives in London with her husband Tom.


Gillespie and I is a great novel narrated by the character, Harriet Baxter an elderly English woman embarking in 1933 upon the memoir of an artist.

The story is about an artist, Ned Gillespie, who committed suicide at the age of 36, forty years prior to the author’s recount of his life. But Baxter also intertwines her story from 1888 and the international exhibition in Glasgow, where the young Harriet has come for distraction after the death of her aunt to recounts of Gillespie’s friends and family. By chance she makes the acquaintance of the Gillespie family, an extended clan who live close by her lodgings.

Harris is a fine storyteller and controls the twists, turns and pace of her plot with expertise.

This entry was posted on Friday, May 27, 2011 at 11:04 PM . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .


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