Back in 1979, nine-year-old Sean's Uncle Eric voted for Margaret Thatcher's Conservative Party – which caused Sean's grandfather to punch him so hard he damaged his hand and had to go to hospital.
Sean's father also voted Tory, but he keeps that dark. This novel, written alternately from the viewpoint of Sean as a boy in the thick of events, and as an adult looking back, is a moving and sometimes bitterly funny account of the economic devastation wreaked on the industrial West Midlands in the 1980s. Cartwright's ear for dialect is brilliant, rendering the Dudley speech with just enough phonetic spellings so that one hears it in one's head: "I ay that ode" ("I ain't that old"). As things get worse and worse for Sean's family, he conceives a daring plan .... An angry, unforgiving novel. But that's its power.