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Having reviewed over 1200 books on this blog, I have now written two myself. Motherdarling is a story about a search for a missing Will which reveals long-hidden family secrets. The Kids of God is a thriller set in a dystopia ruled by fascist paramilitaries. Both are available as paperbacks and on Kindle through Amazon. I live in Canterbury, England. I lived for more than thirty years in Bedford. Having retired from teaching; I became a research student at the University of Bedfordshire researching into Liminality. I achieved my PhD in 2019. I am now properly retired. I love reading! I enjoy in particular fiction (mostly great and classic fiction although I also enjoy whodunnits), biography, history and smart thinking. Follow me on twitter: @daja57

Friday, 1 February 2019

"Daybreak" by Pat McGrath

Beatnik culture in 1970's London: squatting and hitch hiking and taking drugs and pretending to write poetry. A sort of cross between On the Road and Saturday Night and Sunday Morning. Hippy culture meets gritty realism.

It opens with Rick returning home with his end of school exam results clutched in his hand to find that his mother has been on an alcoholic spree. He looks after his little sister, getting her first to a neighbour's and then to his gran's in Southend; then he abandons any further responsibility to leave home and shack up in a squat with Marie. From then on we follow his occasional forays taking drugs or hitchhiking into Wales to see his writing teacher and to Southend for Christmas with his family; he is occasionally reminded he has familial responsibilities but there is little serious conflict here. The book meanders, rather like Rick's life, with the only real question being whether Marie will stay with him.

Great lines:

  • "A teenage mind tangled up in barbed wire knots."
  • "I breathed in the sweet clouds of cancer."
  • "I ... was oblivious of all the reality around me, unaware of the weight of life on grown-ups' minds."
  • "I was alive like a ripple on a river - something deep was happening."
  • "How long would we have to die in this queue?"
  • "We lay body to body, warm skin to skin, warm soft lips to lips, soft tongue to tongue, teeth biting, legs tangled, arms locked around flesh, moving, crying out as we lost control together."
  • "In London you were really content to know that the theatres were there, but really it was very rare that you'd actually go to one."
  • "We were now self-contained in a magic box with a pink light, beds, carpet, compartments, curtains."
  • "I was a young man thinking I've got a whole life ahead of me, what a drag."
  • "It must be a hell of a life being a tree in this weather."

February 2019

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