Glaister, Lesley (G.) 1956-

views updated

GLAISTER, Lesley (G.) 1956-

PERSONAL: Born October 4, 1956, in Wellingborough, Northamptonshire, England; daughter of Leonard Oliver Richard (a civil servant) and Maureen Jillian (an amateur singer; maiden name, Crowley) Glaister; children: Joseph French, Joshua French, Leo. Education: Open University, B.A. (with first-class honors), 1986; University of Sheffield, M.A., 1988.

ADDRESSES: Home—37 Roach Rd., Sheffield, South Yorkshire S11 8UA, England. Agent—Bill Hamilton, A. M. Heath and Co. Ltd., 79 St. Martin's Lane, London WC2N 4AA, England.

CAREER: Parsons Cross College, Sheffield, England, teacher of adult education courses, beginning 1982; Sheffield Hallam University, teacher of creative writing. Tutor at Loxley College. Writer-in-residence, Cheltenham Literature Festival, 2001-02.

MEMBER: Royal Society of Literature (fellow).

AWARDS, HONORS: Somerset Maugham Award, and Betty Trask Award, both 1991, both for Honour Thy Father; Yorkshire Author of the Year Award, Yorkshire Post, 1993, for Limestone and Clay; Orange Prize for fiction, 2002, for Now You See Me.



Honour Thy Father, Secker & Warburg (London, England), 1990, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1991.

Trick or Treat, Secker & Warburg (London, England), 1991, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1992.

Digging to Australia, Secker & Warburg (London, England), 1992, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1993.

Limestone and Clay, Secker & Warburg (London, England), 1993, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1994.

Partial Eclipse, Hamish Hamilton (London, England), 1994.

The Private Parts of Women, Bloomsbury (London, England), 1996.

Easy Peasy, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1997.

Sheer Blue Bliss, Bloomsbury (London, England), 1999.

Now You See Me, Bloomsbury (London, England), 2001.

Contributor of stories to women's magazines.

SIDELIGHTS: Lesley Glaister, according to Lesley McDowell in the Scotsman, "is one of those writers credited with creating a world all of her own. It has led to comparisons with authors like Kate Atkinson and Ruth Rendell, where surreal landscape meets read-it-in-one-sitting type narrative. It's a provocative mix that has critics reaching easily for superlatives." Glaister "may be feted as a modern Gothic novelist," Julie Myerson claimed in the Guardian, "but she's also a sparkling miniaturist, social comedian and dauntless urban poet" who has also penned "clear, truthful novels, full of tension and bile, honest, embarrassing sex, domestic horror and familial lies. Yet despite the poetry and razzmatazz, they're resolutely low-key pieces, firmly devoid of any grand pretensions." Among Glaister's most popular novels are Limestone and Clay and Now You See Me.

In Limestone and Clay Glaister focuses on the relationship between Nadia, a potter who wants to have a baby, and Nadia's lover, Simon, a teacher of geography and amateur spelunker. As Mary Scott noted in the New Statesman, their relationship "threatens to suffocate them both." When Simon's former lover announces she is pregnant by him, Nadia and Simon must confront the problems they have been avoiding. Nancy Middleton in Belles Lettres found that the story "builds gracefully, filling with detail and respect for our most human failings." Scott admitted that "the writing is so strong that it almost sweeps all before it." "Drawn with exceptional clarity," according to a critic for Publishers Weekly, "Glaister's complicated, fallible characters linger in the reader's mind."

Now You See Me tells the story of Lamb, a young woman running away from her past. She has been hospitalized, has no family, and no place to live. After moving to London, Lamb cleans houses for a living—using forged references—and begins to live secretly in an elderly client's unused cellar. Lamb's reclusive and delicately balanced life is soon joined by Doggo, an escaped convict hiding from the law. When the elderly client is taken ill and rushed to a hospital, the couple move out of the cellar and into the main house. "Glaister explores the tangle of deceit that the lovers practise on each other to protect their own vulnerability and their agonised need to reveal themselves in order to gain the intimacy that they crave," Katie Owen explained in the London Times. In her review of Now You See Me for the London Daily Mail, Elizabeth Buchan wrote: "With its unflinching detail, its subtle manipulation of emotion and its wary and delicate exploration of trust that can flower between wounded people, it possesses an unsettling resonance." Mark Bostridge in the Independent found that "Glaister's greatest talent is her willingness to tell it like it is. Every novelist should learn from this: her subtle punch, the brutal beauty of her writing. And every reader should read her, and prepare to be amazed."

Glaister once told CA: "Through my writing I'm interested in exploring the boundaries between such opposite states as love and hate, madness and sanity, danger and safety, laughter and tears, which are often more illusory the closer one looks. My aim is also to peel back the layers that make up characters, to discover and reveal the touching absurdities that lie within."



Atlantic, June, 1992, Phoebe-Lou Adams, review of Trick or Treat, p. 128.

Belles Lettres, fall, 1993, Elaine Romaine, review of Digging to Australia, p. 58; fall, 1994, Nancy Middleton, review of Limestone and Clay, p. 90.

Booklist, February 15, 1993, Lindsay Throm, review of Digging to Australia, p. 1033; March 15, 1994, Alice Joyce, review of Partial Eclipse, p. 1326; September 1, 1997, Jennifer Henderson, review of Easy Peasy, p. 57.

Book Report, September-October, 1993, Diane Pozar, review of Digging to Australia, p. 42.

Daily Mail (London, England), April 27, 2001, Elizabeth Buchan, review of Now You See Me, p. 52.

Guardian, May 12, 2001, review of Now You See Me. Independent (London, England), April 29, 2001, Mark Bostridge, review of Now You See Me, pp. 31-32.

Irish Times, August 24, 2002, Cathy Dillon, review of Now You See Me, p. 60.

Lambda Book Report, May, 1998, Susan Raffo, review of Easy Peasy, p. 25.

Library Journal, March 1, 1993, Joanna M. Burkhardt, review of Digging to Australia, p. 107; November 1, 1993, Maurice Taylor, review of Digging to Australia, p. 176.

New Statesman, August 27, 1993, Mary Scott, review of Limestone and Clay, p. 40; September 2, 1994, Wendy Brandmark, review of Partial Eclipse, p. 40; April 19, 1996, Carol Birch, review of The Private Parts of Women, p. 37; February 5, 1999, Francis Gilbert, review of Sheer Blue Bliss, p. 49.

Publishers Weekly, February 8, 1993, review of Digging to Australia, p. 73; January 31, 1994, review of Limestone and Clay, p. 75; August 4, 1997, review of Easy Peasy, p. 67.

Scotsman, May 26, 2001, Lesley McDowell, review of Now You See Me, p. 9.

Spectator, September 25, 1993, Cressida Connolly, review of Limestone and Clay, p. 31; August 20, 1994, Francis King, review of Partial Eclipse, p. 32; June 21, 1997, Kate Hubbard, review of Easy Peasy, p. 35.

Times (London, England), May 5, 2001, Katie Owen, review of Now You See Me; May 16, 2001, Dominic Bradbury, review of Now You See Me.

Times Literary Supplement, October 19, 1990, p. 1130.


Contemporary Writers, (November 11, 2003).*