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Oxygen

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Oxygen by Andrew Miller, book reviewOxygen by Andrew Miller is set in the summer of 1997, and tells the linked stories of four characters. Three are the members of a single family. Alice Valentine, an ex-teacher, is slowly dying of cancer in her home in the West Country. She reflects a little on her past and tries to cope with the expectations of her family while struggling with the relentless downward course of her illness. Her younger son, Alec, returns from London to the family home to stay with her. He has always lacked confidence in life and relationships, but has now found a niche as a translator of foreign literature into English. Alec has lived very much in the shadow of his elder bother Larry, clearly Alice’s favourite. Larry is in many ways the opposite of Alec – socially adept, a world-ranked tennis professional who has travelled the world before marrying, settling in Los Angeles and becoming a soap opera star playing the role of a hospital doctor.


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Pure

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 Pure Andrew Miller , book reviewPure, by Andrew Miller, is a novel about the demolition of a cemetery in pre-revolutionary Paris, and it would be hard to think of a much more gothic premise for a book. The cemetery is les Innocents, a place filled to overflowing with the remains of countless generations of Parisians, rich and poor. Les Innocents has been closed to new interments but retains its priest, an organist and a verger. However, it has become an offense and health hazard to the surrounding area. The Minister commissions a young engineer from the country, Jean-Baptiste Baratte, to undertake the demolition of the cemetery and its buildings, and Pure is the story of the subsequent events.


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