About this item
In this book Maureen Duffy injects into her writing a bitter and convincing compassion.
The first of the novels in Duffy's London trilogy takes us into the minds of various disparate characters whose connections become apparent as the pages progress. This streaming style makes for some occasional confusion, as a section starts and you take time to realise who it deals with, but not so much as to spoil the flow. Early on there's an odd recurrence of horse memories, or metaphors, and a common-ground pub emerges. A lesbian gardener of mature years starts us off, and we pass through various colours of skin and ages and classes, with wartime memories still strong and damaged lives a common thread. We return regularly to a pair of undamaged lovers in bed, talking loving tosh and exchanging fluids, in a way that seems to be ironic counterpoint to grim real life, but I suspect is not so simply intended. The London (and period) flavour is strong, but more in spirit than topographical description - mention of a common and some pub names is about as specific as the scene-setting gets. The fun-fair later on may well be Battersea, so the common might be Clapham. One of the characters, a mayor, is pondering the impending amalgamation of some London boroughs, which happened in 1965 - some precise dating then. A novel very much of its time, in style and content, but full of flavour and worth the effort.
- Duffy, Maureen
- Used: good
- Number of pages:
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