Instances of the Number 3

Instances of the Number When Peter Hansome dies his wife and mistress confront many mysteries than they had anticipated in this beguiling novel about love and loss

  • Title: Instances of the Number 3
  • Author: Salley Vickers
  • ISBN: 9781841156583
  • Page: 159
  • Format: None
  • When Peter Hansome dies his wife and mistress confront many mysteries than they had anticipated in this beguiling novel about love and loss.

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      Published :2020-012-21T14:43:31+00:00

    About " Salley Vickers "

  • Salley Vickers

    Salley Vickers was born in Liverpool, the home of her mother, and grew up as the child of parents in the British Communist Party She won a state scholarship to St Paul s Girl s School and went on to read English at Newnham College Cambridge She has worked, variously, as a cleaner, a dancer, an artist s model, a teacher of children with special needs, a university teacher of literature, and a psychoanalyst Her first novel, Miss Garnet s Angel , became an international word of mouth bestseller She now writes full time and lectures widely on many subjects, particularly the connections between, art, literature, psychology and religion.Her principal interests are opera, bird watching, dancing, and poetry One of her father s favourite poets, W.B.Yeats, was responsible for her name Salley, the Irish for willow which comes from Yeats s poem set to music by Benjamin Britten Down by the salley gardens.

  • 832 Comments

  • The highly acclaimed author of ‘Miss Garnet’s angel’ has written another astounding novel to add to an already prized collection, which is both stylish and compelling. If the eye-catching, striking front cover doesn’t capture your imagination then the storyline certainly will, that shows the three graces from ‘La Primavera’ by Sandro Botticelli a beautiful painting from Florence. This novel stood out distinctively by the effortless exactness and luminous, realistic perception by a wr [...]


  • The book was not what I expected it to be, much subdued, perhaps that's the difference between British and American mentalities. Everything happening beneath the surface, between the lines, much unsaid, and people making decisions based on independant thought rather than codependant emotions. It didn't sweep me away but it was an interestng and worthwhile read. I particularly enjoyed the literary allusions to Donne and Yeats and oh yes, Shakespeare. But really, Hamlet? The story did not go where [...]


  • After Peter is killed , his mistress and wife are drawn together by his memories (and his ghost). As secrets of his past life are uncovered, these unlikely friends find their lives enriched by neighbors, co workers and eventually Peter's newborn daughter in a web of extended family neither woman could have envisioned. Understated and wise, this very British drawing room novel reminds me of Penelope Lively, in its wit and language.


  • Fascinating and clever (despite the irritation of ghostly visits) story of widow and mistress befriending each other. Poignant in places, but never mawkish. Doesn't go for the obvious and easy ending.


  • The title is what persuaded me to pull this book off the library shelf and read it. It's so wonderfully specific and oblique at the same time.We get pretty deep into the book, set in London, before the story seems to be about anything but the budding friendship between Frances, who before the car accident was Peter's mistress, and Bridget, Peter's widow. Both women are interesting characters, a little bit prickly in different ways, but neither caring to scorn the other just because conventionali [...]


  • A friend who is in a book club once told me he had calculated that, for the rest of his life, he will read only another 100 books. It is an interesting thing, to contemplate like that how fast you read (he is a slow reader and reads five or six books a year) and what it raises is, if this book was one of your last 100, would you read it? Our time on this Earth is precious. That I finished Instances of the Number 3, by Salley Vickers, is perhaps more about me and my bastardly need to complete tha [...]


  • hm. Dull. I discovered Salley Vickers via a book group read, Miss Garnet's Angel. I enjoyed that because I liked the character of Miss Garnet and her journey of self-discovery. But the other two Vickers books I've read since have failed to grab me. She's a psychoanalyst and in this book it shows. Far too much heavy-handed exposition of characters' states of mind, with the three main characters almost ciphers standing for ideas. I never really cared about them. It all just seemed too obvious, and [...]


  • I've been remembering this book time and again for ages but absolutley could not remember the title or author then, the other day, I picked up another Salley Vickers book and this title was mentioned on the back. Wow! Found it finally! It is an interesting book. Worth a read. 9/2014 - It is now years later and I've picked up another Salley Vickers book - The Cleaner of Chatres However, while I remember the title of the Instances of the Number 3, I remember nothing about it and clearly did not wr [...]


  • Throughout my reading of this book I fought the feeling that I didn't want to finish it, but kept at it in the hope that something interesting would come of it. This did not happen. The premise is that 3 is an unstable number (the holy trinity aside) and circumstances in our lives involving 3 people are to be especially complicated. The trinity in this book is the wife, mistress and favored prostitute of a dead man. This may sound interesting, but the story is quite dull and its telling often li [...]


  • I liked this book more while reading it than in retrospect.The language is charming, and I very much enjoyed spending time in the company of the characters. They were interesting people, drawn with great insight. There are flashes of wry humor and a certain warmth throughout.The ending kind of peters out, though, and the big surprise is something I figured out less than halfway through the book. (Perhaps we were supposed to? The reveal itself is almost anticlimactic.) And there are certain logis [...]


  • This is a delightful look at 3 people who were intimately connected with Peter, a rather forlorn character who was killed in a car accident. Bridget, the wife, and Frances, the mistress, both new about and accepted the existence of the other, but the 3rd person, Zahin, a young immigrant from Iran, while clearly knowing Peter quite well, is somewhat of a mystery. As these three characters get to know each other better, we are also led into their developing relationships with some others - Painter [...]


  • This is a book I would heartily recommend as an intelligent holiday read. The basic story is simple but the psychological insight is acute - unsurprising bearing in mind Ms Vickers was a psychoanalyst for some years.I hate the cover though. More than one person thought it made the book look dated (which it certainly isn't - quite the opposite) and not a little throwaway, which does the book an injustice. A small thing perhaps but I would want to encourage more people to take this off the shelves [...]


  • Not as good as Mr Golightly but still an enjoyable read. I would have been more engaged with Bridget and Frances if I'd had a better understanding of why they loved Peter. Or is that the point ? - he really wasn't all that wonderful but fulfilled their needs. The character I liked the most was the artist Frances worked with - unconventional, funnyNot sure if the ghost thing really added much for me - but sometimes I think my mood when I read a book can really influence my opinion so a reading at [...]


  • just finished this book - less than five minutes ago - and I'm not sure what I think of it. One hand it had the dreaded 'everyone lives happily ever after' ending and at times it was very trite. Vicker's language, however, is gorgeous and her usage of poetry & Shakespearean literature adds depth to the book. The characters are believable and the story is evocative. The book reminds of me Alice Hoffman's work quite a bit, just without the depth. I highly recommend it, however, to poetry & [...]


  • Engrossing and unusual take on the dynamic of a husband, wife and his mistress, after he has died. I really liked the small passages at the end of some of the chapters, written from Peter's after-life perspective, and I thought there could have been more of this if anything as I wanted to know more about his state of mind. The two women were portrayed well as two distinct and quite different characters. The fact that they didn't feel more jealousy of one another was the only thing that for me, d [...]


  • i was at the library in the fiction section and the spine of this book caught my eye. i took it home hoping to find all kinds of interesting information about the number 3 throughout historyis book did not provide that. the instance of the number 3 is a love triangle. a love triangle in which the shared man appears as a ghost watching over his ladies, as they live their lives after his deathft. i was hoping to give it three stars but i just could not do it.


  • I picked this up after reading Sally Vicker's The Other Side of You, but I enjoyed this one more. Some readers may be a little put off by the British attitudes toward sex and marital fidelity, but otherwise, I found this to be a well-written novel about the complexities of human beings and relationships. The supernatural element in the novel was a nice touch--enough to add some interest without detracting from the main focus.


  • rather too clever this. widow befriends husband's mistress after his death, plus other arty types. and a transvestite prostitute liver. lots of poetic-esp Shakespeare -quotations and arch remarks. story itself on one level and then lots of other stuff about relationships -in 3s. did not like the people !


  • This is an enjoyable book, but not one of Sally Vickers best. The ending was very touching and the way in which the people in the novel accommodate the multifaceted nature of the other protagonists is really interesting and clever. However some of the twists were predictable and the story was a bit plodding at times. This meant that I was interested but never fully absorbed by the book.


  • Unconventional, witty story of a man who dies suddenly leaving his wife and mistress behind to come to terms with his life and with the third lover he was on his way to meet when he has a car accident. Sometimes the Britishisms got in the way but otherwise well written. Some plot twists and it moves along briskly.


  • I liked the general premise of the book and the relationship between the wife and mistress. Did not feel drawn in by any of the characters and annoyed with the appearance of the dead husband.I will not choose to read this author again, did not care for the writing style. Rambling, esoteric, disjointed.


  • I like Sally vickers as an author which is why I persevered with this book. A clever idea, for a wife and mistress to get to know each other after the death of the male, however, nothing really happened until the last 100 pages. I was tempted to let it go except that it was a Vickers book. Would not recommend.


  • Struggled to get invested in this but it's an easy enough read to see it through to the end. I didn't like the omniscient narrator who jumped around into people's heads without ever really making the most of it. Ditto the ghost. All the literary allusions felt like someone irritating showing off their English A level. Moderately enjoyable as a story but that was about it.


  • This is the second book I've read by Vickers and while I am not a religious person by any stretch of the imagination, I appreciate the depth of the messages she delivers in her novels. Her characters are always rich, complex and very human. And her gods, angels and saints get the same treatment.An excellent book pondering the blurry lines of life and death and getting on with them both.


  • Fantastic! This book was unpredictable; unlike most books that foreshadow or have obvious plot lines, I found myself surprised again and again by what unfolded next. There were many great quotes throughout. This book was full of bits of wisdom.


  • Well written but I couldn't really see the point the author was trying to make, and the 'cross dressing' bit was too easily rumbled by the reader early on - a bit like Shakespeare's Portia donning a pair of trousers and 'fooling' everyone but the audience. Unbelievable I suppose


  • A very different sort of story than I usually read. The pacing was quite slow and methodical, but not uninteresting. I was a little thrown by the direction that the book took towards the end, but I still found in enjoyable overall.


  • DymocksStory about Briget, widowed by Peter, Zahin her Iranian house guest and Peter's ex lover, Frances.Brigit is aware of her late husband's presence. She forms a friendship with Frances, a love - hate relationship.An easy read, shades of a Maeve Binchy novel. Didn't really go anywhere.


  • Very good book. Gives new meaning to the phrase Love Triangle.It develops the characters slowly, and you really grow to love them. Two women in a difficult circumstance form an unlikely friendship.


  • loved this - the first Sally Vickers book I read. I now chase down her latest novels to read. I love her writing, her research, her application to the arts and her psychology. All of this, all wound up together romantically. My favourite things.


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