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The Lovely Bones

Alice Sebold

  • Paperback
PUBLISHED: 6th June 2003
ISBN: 9780330485388
A haunting and heartbreaking novel narrated from heaven as a young girls watches over her family and killer.
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  • Paperback
PUBLISHED: 6th June 2003
ISBN: 9780330485388
A haunting and heartbreaking novel narrated from heaven as a young girls watches over her family and killer.


A haunting and heartbreaking novel narrated from heaven as a young girls watches over her family and killer.

Publisher Description

"My name was Salmon, like the fish; first name, Susie. I was fourteen when I was murdered on December 6, 1973. My murderer was a man from our neighborhood. My mother liked his border flowers, and my father talked to him once about fertilizer."This is Susie Salmon. Watching from heaven, Susie sees her happy suburban family devastated by her death, isolated even from one another as they each try to cope with their terrible loss alone. Over the years, her friends and siblings grow up, fall in love, do all the things she never had the chance to do herself. But life is not quite finished with Susie yet... The Lovely Bones is a luminous and astonishing novel about life and death, forgiveness and vengeance, memory and forgetting - but, above all, about finding light in the darkest of places.Celebrating 40 years of outstanding international writing, this is one of the essential Picador novels reissued in a beautiful new series style.

Author Biography

Alice Sebold lives in California with the writer Glen David Gold. The Lovely Bones is her first novel. Her memoir, Lucky, will be published by Picador in 2003.


Moving and compelling . . . It will put an imperceptible but stealthily insistent hold on you. I sat down in the morning to read the first couple of pages; five hours later, I was still there, book in hand, transfixed. -- Maggie O'Farrell Sunday Telegraph Spare, beautiful and brutal prose . . . The Lovely Bones is compulsive enough to read in a single sitting, brilliantly intelligent, elegantly constructed and ultimately intriguing. The Times

Kirkus UK Review

Sebold's debut novel is strikingly unusual from the start - it's narrated by a dead 14-year old girl. After her brutal murder, Susie Salmon watches her family collapse from a gazebo in her own personal version of heaven. Though she can have whatever she wants merely by thinking about it, all she really wants is impossible: to be alive, and to reciprocate the love from her friends and family still on Earth. Despite the grim premise, this story is an affirmation of life over death and how the living need the dead to anchor themselves to this world. There are no obvious surprises or twists: Susie describes her grisly death at the hands of the neighbourhood loner, George Harvey, at the very beginning of the book. From above, she cannot bear to give up her watch over her kith and kin, even occasionally breaking through the Inbetween to contact them briefly. Her face flashes in the shards of broken glass, her soul flutters past fellow schoolgirl Ruth, her love for her mother follows her despite her inability to come to terms with her grief. Meanwhile, her kith and kin struggle to come to terms with the lack of closure regarding Susie's death. Her father Jack needs to find her killer and over the years the obsession becomes banal, a background detail, like his wife's growing distance. Lindsey, her sister, throws herself into her books and her boyfriend, and practises being hard. Buckley, her little brother who was never told precisely why Susie went away and is never coming back, learns to turn his heart to stone. During this Susie is in their thoughts, words and actions, not knowing she is watching them. Sebold's plain prose is spotted with humour, partly because of rather than in spite of the subject matter. Black-clad Ruth writes poetry with titles like 'In Pieces' and 'The Lip of the Grave'. Her romanticism of a girl she hardly knew follows her into her escape to New York, where she roams the streets of Manhattan writing down details of killed and raped girls in dark alleys and corners. She manages to weave a connection with Susie in a way that would be impossible had she been alive. The suspension of reality is essential throughout, but some questions linger regardless. How did Jack just know from looking at the green house that George Harvey was the killer? Indeed, how could Harvey elude the law for so long? But despite these and other petty niggling doubts, this is a timeless tale of love and loss. (Kirkus UK)


Winner of National Book Awards Richard and Judy Best Read of the Year 2004 (UK)
Winner of Specsavers Platinum Bestseller Award 2017 (UK)

Product Details

Alice Sebold
Pan Macmillan
Country of Publication
United Kingdom
Audience Age
Short Title
Publication Date

Product Reviews

18 Jul, 2018
By Brett