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Instances of the Number 3 Reviews

"When Peter Hansome dies in a car crash he leaves a wife, Bridget, and a mistress, Frances. Between the two women an unlikely friendship forms. When Zahin, a beautiful Iranian boy, turns up on Bridget’s doorstep claiming to have known her husband, he becomes part of the trio of mourners. How they cope and how their relationships and emotions shift is the theme of this wonderfully readable novel. Vickers is quietly, ironically funny and offers some deft observations ... She also has a compassionate, non-judgemental understanding of human nature and a keen intellectual curiosity about faith, and its absence"
Sunday Times

"Taken simply as a meticulously drawn portrait of smart London life in the Barbara Pym mould, this is an extremely classy piece of writing. But Instances of the Number 3 is a far more ambitious novel than that, exploring the different ways in which human beings can find salvation through self-discovery. Salley Vickers’ precisely measured prose combines a philosophical detachment with close observation of character to create a world where ideas live as vibrantly as people. Owing much to Virginia Woolf, it is a book that demands to be read slowly, but leaves you with plenty to think about."
Observer

"Inevitably I opened Instances of the Number 3 with some concern that Vickers would not be able to match the brilliance of her first book. I need not have worried. The quality of her second novel confirms that she will have a long and outstanding career in writing."
Martyn Goff, Book of the Week, Times Play

"Colourfully-drawn minor characters sit comfortably with passages of a more philosophical stamp, in which big questions are asked with the lightest of touches. The ending is particularly exquisite."
Sunday Telegraph

"Witty, ironic and profound, this novel explores the frontiers of life and death, and forgiveness."
You Magazine, Mail on Sunday

"Salley Vickers is good at pungent lines in the right place, and clever with pace and narrative."
Penelope Lively, Independent

"Salley Vickers is a remarkable optimist. She shows that happiness can be found even after it seems to have died."
David Sexton, Evening Standard

"Gentleness of perception and sharpness of intellect ... sustains you long after the last page."
Bel Mooney, The Times

"Instances of the Number 3 has all the elements that made Miss Garnet’s Angel such a satisfying novel, but in larger quantities. It has the same intelligence and faultlessly elegant prose style, coupled with a compulsive story populated by interesting characters who engage the reader."
Oxford Times

"Vickers’ portrayal of suppressed grief is masterly. Instances of the Number 3 is touching, thought-provoking and entertaining. I suspect it may also be extremely wise."
The Tablet

"Studded with observations and asides that stop you in your tracks ... reading it is like having a fine meal with a good wine; you are left with a feeling of
deep satisfaction."
Julie Wheelwright, Scotland on Sunday

"The author of Miss Garnet’s Angel again beguiles with her breadth of vision and understanding of human feelings and foibles. Her fiction has a haunting quality ... A witty, ironic and thoughtful novel."
Choice Magazine

"Vickers’ novel is gallopingly readable and its two principal women are compellingly drawn."
Julie Myerson, Guardian

"The author of the acclaimed best seller Miss Garnet’s Angel has written an entirely original second novel that explores the links between various combinations of three people and the relationship between life, the experiences that shape it, and death."
Hello! Magazine

"The classic threesome – husband, wife, mistress – proves mathematically unstable in Vickers’ profound comic novel ... her appealing characters bloom as the world opens up to them in surprising but logical ways. Philosophical concerns are woven seamlessly with earthy incident, so that bad cocktail parties resonate and good bubble baths matter. In the tradition of the late Iris Murdoch, this extraordinary book will inspire and delight."
Publisher’s Weekly

"Stylish and compelling"
Sunday Telegraph

"An extremely classy piece of writing"
Observer

"Admirable. Salley Vickers has a way with persuasive characters and crisp narrative"
Penelope Lively, Independent

"Quietly, ironically funny. A compassionate understanding of human nature and a keen intellectual curiosity"
Sunday Times

"Those who admired Salley Vickers’s accomplished first novel, Miss Garnet’s Angel, will expect of Instances of the Number 3 the same gentleness of perception and sharpness of intellect. They will not be disappointed"
Bel Mooney, The Times

"The sign of a real novelist – effortlessly taking a new line while retaining the same unmistakable fictional personality. Instances of the Number 3 is compulsive; like the Sultan listening to Scheherazade."
John Bayley

"Salley Vickers writes with a luminous and exacting perception that reveals us all as ghosts of ourselves, haunting and haunted by past, present and future loves."
Russell Hoban

"When Peter Hansome dies in a car crash he leaves a wife, Bridget, and a mistress, Frances. Between the two women an unlikely friendship forms. When Zahin, a beautiful Iranian boy, turns up on Bridget’s doorstep claiming to have known her husband, he becomes part of the trio of mourners. How they cope and how their relationships and emotions shift is the theme of this wonderfully readable novel. Vickers is quietly, ironically funny and offers some deft observations ... She also has a compassionate, non-judgemental understanding of human nature and a keen intellectual curiosity about faith, and its absence."
Sunday Times

"Taken simply as a meticulously drawn portrait of smart London life in the Barbara Pym mould, this is an extremely classy piece of writing. But Instances of the Number 3 is a far more ambitious novel than that, exploring the different ways in which human beings can find salvation through self-discovery. Salley Vickers’ precisely measured prose combines a philosophical detachment with close observation of character to create a world where ideas live as vibrantly as people. Owing much to Virginia Woolf, it is a book that demands to be read slowly, but leaves you with plenty to think about."
Observer

"Inevitably I opened Instances of the Number 3 with some concern that Vickers would not be able to match the brilliance of her first book. I need not have worried. The quality of her second novel confirms that she will have a long and outstanding career in writing."
Martyn Goff, Book of the Week, Times Play

"Colourfully-drawn minor characters sit comfortably with passages of a more philosophical stamp, in which big questions are asked with the lightest of touches. The ending is particularly exquisite."
Sunday Telegraph

"Witty, ironic and profound, this novel explores the frontiers of life and death, and forgiveness."
You Magazine, Mail on Sunday

‘Salley Vickers is good at pungent lines in the right place, and clever with pace and narrative.’ Penelope Lively, Independent

"Salley Vickers is a remarkable optimist. She shows that happiness can be found even after it seems to have died."
David Sexton, Evening Standard

"Gentleness of perception and sharpness of intellect ... sustains you long after the last page."
Bel Mooney, The Times

"Instances of the Number 3 has all the elements that made Miss Garnet’s Angel such a satisfying novel, but in larger quantities. It has the same intelligence and faultlessly elegant prose style, coupled with a compulsive story populated by interesting characters who engage the reader."
Oxford Times

"Vickers’ portrayal of suppressed grief is masterly. Instances of the Number 3 is touching, thought-provoking and entertaining. I suspect it may also be extremely wise."
The Tablet

"Studded with observations and asides that stop you in your tracks ... reading it is like having a fine meal with a good wine; you are left with a feeling of deep satisfaction."
Julie Wheelwright, Scotland on Sunday

"The author of Miss Garnet’s Angel again beguiles with her breadth of vision and understanding of human feelings and foibles. Her fiction has a haunting quality ... A witty, ironic and thoughtful novel."
Choice Magazine

"Vickers’ novel is gallopingly readable and its two principal women are compellingly drawn."
Julie Myerson, Guardian

"The author of the acclaimed best seller Miss Garnet’s Angel has written an entirely original second novel that explores the links between various combinations of three people and the relationship between life, the experiences that shape it, and death."
Hello! Magazine

"The classic threesome – husband, wife, mistress – proves mathematically unstable in Vickers’ profound comic novel ... her appealing characters bloom as the world opens up to them in surprising but logical ways. Philosophical concerns are woven seamlessly with earthy incident, so that bad cocktail parties resonate and good bubble baths matter. In the tradition of the late Iris Murdoch, this extraordinary book will inspire and delight."
Publisher’s Weekly


 
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