Winner of the Mail on Sunday Novel Competition.
From the suburban disorder of 1980s southern England, 13-year-old Jake watches his world unravel as his father and older brother leave the family home and his mother increasingly finds solace in drink.
Even as Jake outwardly shrugs off doubts about his paternity, the question hangs over him like an invisible spectre.
A brilliantly structured novel, Glasshopper recreates the time and place of two childhoods and two marriages, evoking a poignant sense of home and family.
A masterful debut, it celebrates the enduring optimism of youth, even in the face of tragedy.
Isabel Ashdown was born in London in 1970 and grew up on the south coast of England. She is the author of three novels, Glasshopper (London Evening Standard and Observer Best Books of the Year), Hurry Up and Wait (Amazon Top Customer Reads 2011), and Summer of '76 (out now).
She is also winner of the Mail on Sunday Novel Competition 2008, judged by Fay Weldon and the late Sir John Mortimer.
Isabel now lives in West Sussex with her husband, a carpenter, their two children and a border terrier called Charlie.
"Tender and subtle, it explores difficult issues in deceptively easy prose... Across the decades, Ashdown tiptoes carefully through explosive family secrets. This is a wonderful debut intelligent, understated and sensitive." (Observer)
"An intelligent, beautifully observed coming-of-age story, packed with vivid characters and inch-perfect dialogue. Isabel Ashdown's storytelling skills are formidable; her human insights highly perceptive." (Mail on Sunday)
"Isabel Ashdown’s first novel is a disturbing, thought-provoking tale of family dysfunction, spanning the second half of the 20th century, that guarantees laughter at the uncomfortable familiarity of it all." (Evening Standard)
"An immaculately written novel with plenty of dark family secrets and gentle wit within. Recommended for book groups." (Waterstone's Books Quarterly)
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Fully absorbing....couldn't stop listening.
Glasshopper - great book even second time around.