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The Report by Jessica Francis Kane

The Report

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Featured on The TV Book Club on More4 on 11 March 2012.

An evocative and moving debut novel - based on the true story of the worst UK civilian disaster of the Second World War, when 173 people were crushed to death at Bethnal Green tube station during the Blitz.


The Report by Jessica Francis Kane

It is an early spring evening in 1943 when the air-raid sirens wail out over the East End of London.

From every corner of Bethnal Green, people emerge from pubs, cinemas and houses and set off for the shelter of the tube station. But at the entrance steps, something goes badly wrong, the crowd panics, and 173 people are crushed to death. When an enquiry is called for, it falls to the local magistrate, Laurence Dunne, to find out what happened during those few, fatally confused minutes. But as Dunne gathers testimony from the guilt-stricken warden of the shelter, the priest struggling to bring comfort to his congregation, and the grieving mother who has lost her youngest daughter, the picture grows ever murkier. The more questions Dunne asks, the more difficult it becomes to disentangle truth from rumour - and to decide just how much truth the damaged community can actually bear. It is only decades later, when the case is reopened by one of the children who survived, that the facts can finally be brought to light ...

About the Author

Jessica Francis Kane

Jessica Francis Kane is author of an acclaimed story collection, Bending Heaven (Chatto, 2002). Her work has appeared in a number of US publications, including McSweeney's, The Missouri Review, and Michigan Quarterly Review. She lives in New York with her husband and two children.

Author photo © L M Brockett

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Book Info

Publication date

2nd February 2012


Jessica Francis Kane

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Portobello Books Ltd an imprint of Granta Books


256 pages


Historical Fiction
Literary Fiction
eBook Favourites

Political / legal thriller



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