Book review: England's Lane, By Joseph Connolly
Boyd Tonkin is Senior Writer and a columnist at The Independent. An award-winning journalist, he was formerly Literary Editor at The Independent, and before that Social Policy Editor and then Books Editor at the New Statesman magazine. He has broadcast extensively for BBC arts and current affairs programmes and has judged the Booker Prize, the Whitbread biography award, the Commonwealth Writers Prize and the David Cohen Prize. In 2001, he re-founded the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize for literature in translation, and serves on its judging panel every year.
Friday 30 August 2013
Already a writer to relish for virtuosic farce and razor-edged comedy of manners, Connolly excels with this deftly woven novel of London suburban dreams and dreads in 1959.
His England's Lane (the symbolism surfaces but never grates) is home to three families of socially anxious shopkeepers. Through a rich, subtle tapestry of monologue and dialogue, Connolly shows what they feel - and hide.
For all the fine period grain (slang, brands, prejudices), he shuns hindsight as we see that winds of change will shake the Lane, "this little island of ours".
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