The Northern Clemency
This is a most interesting book. A truly epic tale (around 300,000 words) of the everyday that follows the lives of two Sheffield families from the seventies to the mid nineties – and it really is a story of the everyday. Nothing truly momentous happens, even the ‘Big’ events are the Big things that happen to us all; death, sudden life threatening illness, emigration, job change, a court case. Nothing world-shattering happens. There are no startling twists...more
OK. Let's get the whole rating thing out of the way right now. Objectively speaking, this is a three-star book. But I enjoyed it very much - and read all 600 pages in about a day and a half. Which I think deserves some acknowledgement. There are many, many books that are far superior to "The Northern Clemency", but are way less fun to read. So I'm giving it 4 stars.
Here is an example of Philip Hensher in action a...more
Other reviewers haven't been especially kind to it, see http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2008/... or http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2008/... and http://www.theage.com.au/news/book-re...
Would I have enjoyed it as much without the excellent narration by Carole Boyd? Maybe not. But if yo...more
Starred Review. A finalist for the Man Booker Prize, Hensher's Sheffield-set suburban drama spans 20 years in the lives of two neighboring families: the Sellers and the Glovers. Katherine Glover's husband, Malcolm, assuming Katherine has been cheating on him, disappears the night before the Sellers arrive in Sheffield. Katherine confides her troubles in her new neighbor, Alice Sellers, and Malcolm quickly returns. Alice's daughter, Sandra, meanwhile, forms unlikely relation...more
The story mainly follows the liv...more
Clemency starts out in 1970's Sheffield and fol...more
The story takes place in Yorkshire, Sheffield actually and follows the trials and tribulations of two middle-class families living across from each other. In turn and through time, we "touch base" with each character: the two couples, together and separately, and the five children whose paths cross every so often. There i...more
Hensher is a realist, a pr...more
Philip Hensher has been compared to Charles Dickens, Elizabeth Gaskell, Jonathan Franzen, Claire Messud, Ian McEwan, and Virginia Woolf, among other respected literary writers, living and dead. No pressure there. For all its grounding in the classics
I think the problem with this book is that it simply covers too much time. First it focuses on two families l...more
The Giant Rat of Sumatra.
I loved the humour that's even present on the contents pages. But even more than that - the language speaks to me in so many ways. That word "nesh" - I just see it, and I'm six years old again, complaining about the bitter wind howling down Blackpool's "Golden Mile...more
A family move from down south to South Yorkshire in the seventies. Oooh, spookily familiar.... So the power cuts, miners strike, Pot Noodles, Austin Allegros, Jackie magazine elements all struck a chord.
Not a lot happens, in some senses (but then, not a lot did). I enjoyed it enough to car...more
A family moves from London to Sheffield... they meet the neighbors, the kids go to school, hang out... then about page 500 someone gets arrested, someone goes to hospital, one, emigrates to Australia, one dies...
One becomes a successful businessman...
Much like watching "Coronation Street" in the 1970's and 1980's.
If anything its redeeming feature is the carefully drawn characters that you can really empath...more