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One of Us by Melissa Benn
  

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Featured on The Book Show on Sky Arts on 12 February 2009.

One of Us is an insightful and poignant novel that concerns the conflict between political ambition and private lives. The author is Tony Benn's daughter and the novel has a real 'insider' quality to it.

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Synopsis

One of Us by Melissa Benn

How would Antigone fare in a New Labour milieu? One of Us is a subtle and poignant novel about the dangerous space between private and public lives, about kingmakers and power, by a writer who should know…

The narrative opens in March 2003. A leading journalist and a forty-two-year-old woman meet at a dingy London cafe in the immediate aftermath of the invasion of Iraq. Anna Adams has a story she is burning to tell, one that goes right to the top of the Cabinet. Her middle brother Jack, the black sheep of the family, has committed a shocking, violent act that the authorities have tried to cover up, and Anna is determined both to defend and celebrate him, at all costs. Anna's tale takes us on a journey to the heart of British politics and through the lives of two families, over thirty years. It charts the rise of Andy Givings, ambitious, ruthless New Labour star; of Matt Adams, Anna's elder brother and Andy's closest aide; and Christopher Mason, the charming left-leaning solicitor whom Anna marries. But it is also the story of Anna herself, loyal daughter, wife and sister. As the story unfolds and her marriage begins to crumble, Anna finds herself at the mercy of events, emotions and the most vicious form of blackmail.

One of Us is a gripping story of love and betrayal, giving unparallelled insights into the conflicts that arise when vaulting ambition clashes with private values and family life.


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Reviews

'A sly, sensitive and pertinent novel about a very modern form of disillusionment – not just with the private contract of marriage but with the public one between a government and its electorate.' Metro

'Benn’s compassionate and indignant observations on the price paid by women and children involved in a male politician’s rise are fascinating – a glimpse of an enduring human tragedy.' Daily Telegraph

'Benn is wonderful on the telling details of family life… Benn has succeeded in bringing the ancient themes of Sophocles up to date with a keen eye, a subtle intelligence, and an unwavering decency' Guardian

About the Author

Melissa Benn is a writer, journalist and campaigner, and a member of one of Britain's best known political families. She has written one previous novel, Public Lives (1995), which reviewers praised for its 'acute intelligence' and 'incredible subtlety'. Benn writes regularly for the Guardian and other national publications, and her non-fiction includes Madonna and Child: Towards a New Politics of Motherhood (1998.) She lives in north-west London with her husband and two daughters.

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Book Info

Publication date

8th January 2009

Author

Melissa Benn

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Author's Website

melissabenn.com/

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Publisher

Vintage

Format

Paperback
288 pages

Categories

Literary Fiction
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Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)

ISBN

9780099507994

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