Nourishment, By Gerard Woodward

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The Independent Culture

Woodward's black comedy looks at some of the more carnal pleasures to be had in wartime Britain. Tory Pace is sitting out the Blitz when she receives a missive from her POW husband asking that she writes a dirty letter: "I mean really filthy, full of all the dirtiest words and deed you can thing of".

At first Tory's attempts fall a little limp ("did 'womb' count as an erotic word?"), but she soon gets into the swing of things when she finds herself involved in a passionate affair with an ex-boxer.

Further awakenings follow, including an inadvertent act of cannibalism after the bombing of a local butcher's shop: "You have only become a proper woman since the day you ate Mr Dando."

As ever, Woodward's fiction crackles with both laugh-out-loud silliness and sharp observation.