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Stranger on the Shore

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Stranger on the Shore

By John Symons
ISBN 9780856832642
September 2009


Tracing the life of the author’s father, this vivid memoir follows him through childhood in the west of England, his successful 25-year career in the Indian Army before independence in 1947, and his final years in Devonshire, where he raised a family while Huntington’s disease gradually set in.  Many families will benefit from reading this touching story.

Author's Biography

John Symons spent the first two years of his life in India and the next sixteen in Cornwall and Devonshire. Educated at the universities of Oxford, Cambridge and London, he worked as an executive and life coach, and as an adjudicator in management and staff disputes. He lives in East Sussex.


‘Despite the underlying tragedy this is an uplifting book and an absorbing read, It is beautifully written’   Margaret Perry in Cross Keys

 â€˜Huntington’s is a disease of families as well as those who die of it ... a beautiful memoir to a man devoted to his family’
 Western Morning News  

‘Full of humanity and the valour of the human spirit, telling a tragic story with no self-pity … You feel that you are there and connect the story with the experience of loss in your own life’                                      
Prof. Heather Skirton, NHS consultant

‘The writer is a consummate artist in style, with a poet’s eye for detail. The story is exceptionally vivid … expressing deep faith and perception of the meaning of life, moving to tears, and sear’
C.F.D. Moule, professor emeritus, theology, Cambridge

Price £12.95 Paperback

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Reader Comments

How many more cookbooks does the world need? Or finance for that matter. At last a book about something human - people, relationships and coping with illness, gets my vote.
John Simmons' book moved me and stayed with me long after I had finished reading it. It leaves the impression of love and courage which endures within a family, despite hardships. For this reason, it has helped me to live my own life in a better way.
This highly unusual book tells the story of an ordinary Cornish family afflected over generations by an appalling genetic disease, and by the nightmare of not knowing who it will strike next. Yet there is a kind of triumph amid the suffering. The sensitive writing on a subject that could hardly be more serious makes for an unforgettable read.
A moving and inspiring book
great read
Very well written - an encouraging read for anybody who has to live and cope with unchangable circumstances.
"Good lives well lived" - yes, that encapsulates the impression left by this book. Ordinary people who we would never have heard of, living and struggling through several decades with quiet courage; and in the background the shadowy spectre of hereditary disease. Skillfully written, eminently readable.
This book can be read by young and old and is very touching! Very brave of the author to discuss a taboo topic that affected his own father! Really like how such a difficult topic is written about in a very ‘manner of fact’ way, very well done!
a must read!
Very well written book, very touching, tackles the problem of Huntingdon’s disease in a very mature way without bitterness. Gives hope to those who suffer from this illness that life could be lived in its full till the end. An absolute must read!
This book is an inspiring and deeply moving account of what a genetic condition can do to a family and how, in this case, the members cope with a continuous threat. It is exceptionally readable and deserves a wide distribution.
A touching family history which is honest about the pain involved but which also is full of much love and hope.
A book that will resonate long after you have finished reading it.
Inspirational and very moving.
This beautifully-written book, accessible to young and old, is essential reading for all who have suffered and want to live on without bitterness. It is a moving account of good lives well-lived, despite the shadow and torment of Huntingdon's.
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