Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2008
A tale of two families living in Sheffield from the 1970's through to the 90's. The book wonderfully evokes the style and sentiments of the 70's and 80's and the interwoven lives of the two families, along with other characters, against a backdrop of political upheaval with the miners strike and the effects of the Thatcher years. This isn't a political novel though, more a comment on a time and place and how ordinary people were effected by events unravelling around them. 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 ten-year-old Tim Glover, who never quite recovers from a moment of his mother's public cruelty and the amused taunting of fifteen-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.
‘Lovingly rooted in 1970s and 1980s Sheffield, “The Northern Clemency” effectively reclaimed a lost genre of politically astute, richly decorated provincial family saga for modern readers.’ Boyd Tonkin, Independent (Book of the Year)
‘A tremendous book. Against an unfashionable 1970s background Philip Hensher has composed not so much a condition-of-England as a condition-of-humanity novel, which is gripping and surprising and shocking in all kinds of unpredictable ways, and enormously wide in psychological and moral scope. What a writer he is!’ Philip Pullman
‘Wise and strong and unputdownable.’ A.S. Byatt, Financial Times (Book of the Year)
‘A remarkable novel…a cumulative effect of luminous richness, like a perfect piece of orchestration…something more than brilliant cleverness makes this novel extraordinary.’ Jane Shilling, Sunday Times
Publication date: 02/04/2009
Publisher: Harpercollins Publishers
Publication date: 01/04/2008
Publisher: Harpercollins Publishers
|Publication date:||2nd April 2009|
|Genres:||eBook Favourites, Family Drama, Literary Fiction, Reading Groups,|
|Categories:||Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945),|
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