Paperback: Cryers Hill, by Kitty Aldridge

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The Independent Culture

There's a near-pagan vibe to Kitty Aldridge's second novel that most of us won't have come across since the fourth form and Laurie Lee. Set in a village in the Chilterns, the novel's dual narrative switches between the stories of two country boys living 35 years apart: Sean, a schoolboy in 1969, and Walter, who in 1934 is nearly old enough to wear a suit. While Sean struggles with language he's being taught a revolutionary new reading scheme back in the more literate Thirties, Walter yearns to be a poet. The two stories ingeniously connect in a novel that rusticates both language and landscape to startling effect.