Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2008
A tale of two families living in Sheffield from the 1970's through to the 90's. A great saga of a book, do not be put off by the length (738 pages) as it's compelling stuff.
Beginning in 1974 and ending with the fading of Thatcher's government in 1996, 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.
'Hensher is an anatomist of familial tensions and marshals his large cast of characters deftly. He has an impeccable eye for nuances of character and setting, and the details of Seventies food and décor are lovingly done: the mushroom vol-au-vents, the white wall units with brown smoked glass…an engaging and hugely impressive novel.' The Times
'The Northern Clemency - vast, compendious, wearing its ambition like an outsize boutonniere - makes a virtue of its exactness, its recapitulative zeal, its absolute determination to jam everything in and sit unshiftably on the lid.' Independent on Sunday
'Hensher has a forensic eye for detail, providing nightmarish glimpses of the everyday…engrossing, amusing and moving.' Independent
'An epic novel.' Guardian
Publication date: 01/04/2008
Publisher: Harpercollins Publishers
|Publication date:||1st April 2008|
|Genres:||eBook Favourites, Literary Fiction,|
Philip Hensher's novels include Kitchen Venom, which won the Somerset Maugham Award, Other Lulus and The Mulberry Empire, which was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize, shortlisted for the WH Smith 'People's Choice' Award and highlighted by no fewer than twelve reviewers as their 'book of the year'. Chosen by Granta to appear on their prestigious, once-a-decade list of the twenty best young British novelists, Philip Hensher is also a columnist for the Independent and chief book reviewer for the Spectator. His most recent novel, The Northern Clemency was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2008. He lives in South London. &...More About Philip Hensher