The Virgin and the Whale: a love story
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A touching, clever novel about stories, about using them to create your own identity, and about the way they can forge bonds of love.
It is 1919. Elizabeth Whitman is working as a nurse in the local hospital, waiting for her husband to return from war, though he is missing in action, ‘presumed dead’. She keeps him alive for their four-year-old son, Jack, by telling the story of a man she calls The Balloonist, who went away in a hot-air balloon and has adventures in exotic countries.
When she is asked to nurse a returned soldier whose head injury has reduced him to an animal-like state with no memory, Elizabeth starts telling her stories to him. It is through them that she manages to engage his interest and offer him a new life . . . in more ways than one.