The Northern Clemency
7 journalers for this copy...
'The Northern Clemency' is Philip Hensher's epic portrait of an entire era, a novel concerned with the lives of ordinary people and history on the move.
Set in Sheffield, it charts the relationship between two families: Malcolm and Katherine Glover and their three children; and their neighbours the Sellers family, newly arrived from London so that Bernie can pursue his job with the Electricity Board. The day the Sellers move in there is a crisis across the road: Malcolm Glover has left home, convinced his wife is having an affair. The consequences of this rupture will spread throughout the lives of both couples and their children, in particular 10-year-old Tim Glover, who never quite recovers from a moment of his mother's public cruelty and the amused taunting of 15-year-old Sandra Sellers, childhood crises that will come to a head twenty years later.In the background, England is changing: from a manufacturing and industrial based economy into a new world of shops, restaurants and service industries, a shift particularly marked in the North with the miners' strike of 1984, which has a dramatic impact on both families.
Inspired by the expansive scale and webs of relationships of the great nineteenth-century Russian novels, 'The Northern Clemency' shows Philip Hensher to be one of our greatest chroniclers of English life.
Intitial order (please feel free to swap and let me know):
My biggest complaint was that it had too many characters and tried to be too involved with the interconnectedness of life, leading to several occasions where I had no clue at all if I had ever met the characters I was currently focussing on. At the same time, I wanted to know more about some of the seemingly important events that just faded into nothing (Why did the kid die? What did it mean to the others? What happened to his mum??)
So it wasn't the length that was the issue, it was the editing. It needed someone to ask the author why they included what they did. And why it didn't seem to end, just to fizzle. Worth a read, but prolly not a second read.
I thought the miners' strike would have been more significant in the novel. However, Tim and Bernie were the only ones affected by the strike, and there was not much in the book about Bernie's involvement.
Thanks miss-jo for sharing this book. I'll send it on to the next reader once I have the mailing address.
I received this in the post today along with a lovely bookmark. Thank you (You've a great name too).
And Miss-jo I've got a bookring for you too.
CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:
I deeply enjoyed what I read of this book, unfortunately I just didn't have the time or energy to read all of this book.
So, I will borrow it from the local library one day, and find out how it ends...
Passed onto Goodthinkingmax, along with a couple of other Booker shorties.
I will attempt to pass this to fleebo or tqd at the Sydney meetup. I'm sure they'll be amenable when I lug in such a heavy volume :-)
I swear that if I don't begin reading it this long weekend, then I will pass it on.
The Northern Clemency has arrived in Canberra.
I can understand anyone being put off by the shear size of this book!
I've got a few other big books from bookrings in the TBR queue at the moment, so I'm hoping to build up my stamina before tackling this one.
Thanks Fleebo for the lovely B &W postcard!
Wish me luck with this book ;-)
I started this before Christmas it was quite good for around this time of year. An effortless read even for such a large book. Nothing much was left to the imagination, everything was well described and the characters and their interactions with each other seemed well fleshed out. I was surprised that the story eventually travelled with one of the characters from Sheffield to Sydney.
I think the 70s, 80s and 90s were well depicted. I quite liked hearing on occasions what the character's were reading. I remember reading The Far Pavilions back in the 80s as was one of the characters.
An interesting and not a taxing read, quite a surprise for a large book.
I'm PM Sujie and see if she is ready for this book.
CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:
Putting this in the post at ANU.
My tip: Don't be put off by the size, it's an easier read then many shorter books.
Thanks for lovely p.c. I have always loved the stained glass windows by Leonard French in Melbourne but strangely can't remember the ones at the National Library....must look properly next time I'm there.
Still in another book but will get to this one by this weekend.
Having said that there were passages that really moved me, particularly Malcolm's going through the photo albums with his wife Katherine after the torrid court case and Francis reading Sherlock Holmes to his comatose mother and ones in which I could see my own life reflected. Sometimes the lack of resolution - you never found out if she did hear him, perhaps it was just hinted at - seemed too much like real life.
I haven't heard of Henschler before and I'll look out for some other titles, hoping for something on the thinner side!
I'll be very interested to hear what you have to say, livrecache. PMing you for address.
Thanks for organising the ring, miss-jo.
WILD RELEASE NOTES:
In bookshelf at end of counter.