In 2014, the Jerwood Fiction Uncovered Prize worked with the Regional Literature Development Agencies to find reading groups across the UK to read the Jerwood Fiction Uncovered Prize-winning titles.
Little Egypt by Lesley Glaister was read by the Page Turner Reading Group from Norwich and below are reviews from its reading group members.
Little Egypt was greatly enjoyed by our reading group. It is an atmospheric and intriguing tale, beautifully written.
Narrated in the present day by nonagenarian Isis we are taken back to her youth in the house ‘Little Egypt’ with her twin brother, Osiris, and her mostly absent amateur Egyptologist parents. However, the house (and their lives) hold chilling secrets hidden for years, and much of the joy of reading the book comes from the slowly unwinding story from decades ago. The intrigue and suspense is maintained in a gripping way once the story goes back to the young children’s lives in the house.
Some of the writing is extremely beautiful and descriptive, particularly the passage set in Egypt, which is thoroughly evocative of the heat and discomfort of travel, and in some way reminiscent of the scene-setting of the early parts of an Agatha Christie novel – the drama is winding towards an inevitable crisis point. ‘Little Egypt’ itself is a real character in the book, and comes alive through all the detailed descriptions, which were subtly and lightly written.
At times you have to suspend credibility, as this is an unusual family, but the extraordinary upbringing of Isis creates a consistency within her own odd world.
We would thoroughly recommend this book, and will be certainly to read other books by Lesley Glaister.