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".
TV reviewGrace Dent: Jimmy McGovern's new drama sheds light on sex slavery in the colonies
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 What happens to your body when you give up sugar?
- 2 Have sex with your iPad thanks to the new sex toy no-one asked for
- 3 The 'sex selfie stick' lets you FaceTime the inside of a vagina
- 4 Why you're almost certainly more like your father than your mother
- 5 Westboro Baptist Church couldn't picket Leonard Nimoy's funeral because they didn't know where it was
Durham Free School: 'Creationism taught at' free school facing closure
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
Nigel Farage promises Ukip will not 'stigmatise' would-be migrants – and says he wants 'everyone to speak the same language'
Ex-head of MI6: 'We shouldn't kid ourselves that Russia is on a path to democracy'
Most people think legal tax avoidance is just as wrong as illegal tax evasion, poll suggests