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Award winner at the Somerset Maugham Awards 2009.
A stunning novel set in the 1970’s and 80’s covering a myriad of social topics from mixed race marriage, homosexuality, drugs, race, family relations. We begin with a story of love and hope but the dream soon falters under the stresses and strains brought on my a society that is not accepting to anything against the ‘norm’. Although perhaps a bleak novel it is totally absorbing and an honest look at a time that although holds fond memories for a lot of us was also a time of hardship for many.
On the coldest night of 1975, a young man with shock-red hair tears though the snowbound streets of Warrington's toughest housing estate. He is Robbie Fitzgerald, and he is running for his life - and that of his young family. In his heart, Robbie knows the odds are stacked against them. In this unbending Northern town, he has married the beautiful brown nurse who once stitched up his wounds. Susheela is his Tamil Princess, but in the real world, the Fitzgeralds have to face up to prejudice, poverty and sheer naked hatred from their neighbours. Now Robbie has seen a way out, and he's sprinting to his date with destiny... Over thirteen years of struggle, aspiration, achievement, misunderstandings, near-misses and shattered dreams, Helen Walsh plunges us into the lives and loves of the young, doomed Fitzgerald family. She shows herself to be a brilliant chronicler of our people and our times. And in the Fitzgeralds, she has created a family who will stay in your heart, long after the final page. Once Upon A Time In England offers an unforgettable portrait of the world in which we live, and confirms Helen Walsh as a writer of searing power.
'Walsh . . . unflinchingly shows human beings consumed by a damage and hurt that turns them into the very monsters they had hoped to slay.' Anita Sethi, Independent
'Walsh . . . is a lively, keen-eyed guide to Warrington and the north west. The subject matter is harrowing, but, as with Brass, Walsh's writing has a wonderful, propulsive exuberance.' Tim Teeman, The Times
'The kind of book whose events you find yourself repeating to friends.' Helen Brown, Daily Telegraph
'Walsh writes with conviction . . . [she] won the Betty Trask award for her first novel, Brass, and this is an unflinching follow-up.' Lucy Atkins, Sunday Times
'Walsh's talent shines through as she explores the complexities of human relationships and creates a convincing and touching portrayal of family life.' Time Out
Publication date: 04/06/2009
Publisher: Canongate Books Ltd
|Publication date:||4th June 2009|
|Publisher:||Canongate Books Ltd|
|Genres:||eBook Favourites, Literary Fiction, Reading Groups,|
|Categories:||Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945),|
Helen Walsh was born in Warrington in 1977 and moved to Barcelona at the age of sixteen. Working as a fixer in the red light district, she saved enough money to put herself through language school. Burnt out and broke, she returned to England a year later and now works with socially excluded teenagers in North Liverpool. Author photo © Jerry BauerMore About Helen Walsh