Penguin £8.99 (292pp) from the Independent Bookshop: 08430 600 030
The Old Romantic, By Louise Dean
Friday 01 April 2011
Bereft admirers of Beryl Bainbridge should seek out Louise Dean. In her hilarious but often poignant novels, classes, generations, ways of life, all collide with a disarming comic thump.
Ken, the bluff and stroppy patriarch, part-Pop Larkin and part-King Lear, is the lion at bay who rules this tale of prodigal children and changing times set in the Weald and on the Sussex coast.
Ken's terror of mortality, allayed by his tendresse for Hastings mortician Audrey, and the return of his upwardly-mobile lawyer son Nick, trigger a reconciliation with earth-goddess first wife, Pearl.
Dean softens her knife-sharp social comedy with a lyrical delight in plain lives that find "beauty in dirty places and commonplaces, everywhere". Her star should rise much further.
Grace Dent on TV The Secret Life of the Pub is sexist, ageist and a breath of fresh air
Art Megumi Igarashi criticises Japan's 'backwards' attitude to women's sexual expression
tv Singer could become the most unlikely star of Westeros
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 I've been called an abusive and dangerous parent, when all I did was listen to my transgender child
- 2 Migrant crisis: Greek soldier saved 20 people singlehandedly off Rhodes beach
- 3 Sofyen Belamouadden murder: The inside story of a crime that horrified Britain
- 4 Company breaks open Apple Watch to discover what it says is 'planned obsolescence'
- 5 Ian Brady: Moors murderer announces his support for Ukip and the SNP
Poldark episode 8, review: How a costume drama became a Sunday night swoon-fest
Al Pacino admits he was nearly fired from The Godfather and it's still his most 'difficult role'
Warner Music owner Len Blavatnik tops Sunday Times Rich List
The day I starred in Only Fools and Horses
Peter Kay’s Car Share, TV review: The perfect vehicle for Kay’s comic talents
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Migrant boat disaster: Ukip candidate mocks victims in sickening Twitter post
Nigel Farage wants the BBC to stop making programmes like Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, and Top Gear
Global warming: Scientists say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100 and call for action ahead of UN meeting in Paris
General Election 2015: Britain would become a 'communist dictatorship' under Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon, claims wife of Michael Gove