The Picture Book | Granta

  • Published: 01/09/2011
  • ISBN: 9781846273889
  • Granta Books
  • 464 pages

The Picture Book

Jo Baker

Set against the rolling backdrop of a century of British history from WWI to the ‘War on Terror’, this is an intimate family portrait captured in snapshots. First there is William, the factory lad who loses his life in Gallipoli, then his son Billy, a champion cyclist who survives the D-Day Landings on a military bicycle, followed by his crippled son Will who becomes an Oxford academic in the 1960s, and finally his daughter Billie, an artist in contemporary London. Just as the names – William, Billy, Will, Billie – echo down through the family, so too the legacy of choices made, chances lost, and secrets kept.

Rich in drama and sensuous in detail, The Picture Book is a beautifully crafted story about parents and children, about fate and repetition, and about the possibility of breaking free.

This is a wonderful novel that readers will hold onto and consider among the most important books they have ever read. The Picture Book is quite simply a life-changer.

Glenn Patterson

What Baker is so good at is evoking atmosphere, so that you're right there with the characters... The novel is full of really gripping descriptions, with such sensitive detail embedded in them. Very satisfying.

Margaret Forster

The Author

Jo Baker is the author of three previous novels, Offcomer,The Mermaid’s Child and The Telling (Portobello 2008).

More about the author →

From the Same Author

The Telling

Jo Baker

When Rachel sets off alone for her mother’s isolated country house, she promises herself that the business of packing up and selling will only take a couple of weeks, and then she’ll be home again, and back to normal. But from the moment she steps through the front door, Rachel feels that the house contains more than she had expected: along with the memories of her mother, there is something else, a presence – not quite tangible – trying to make itself felt. As Rachel struggles to put her mother’s affairs in order, she grows ever more convinced that the house holds a message for her. Can the ghosts of the past be forcing their way into the present, or is Rachel really beginning to lose her mind?