Tony's Reviews > It's All Right Now

It's All Right Now by Charles Chadwick
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Mar 20, 2007

it was amazing
bookshelves: obscure-but-cool, top-10-2005, british
Read in January, 2005

I loved this book, following the late life blooming of Tom Ripple. It took a long time for Chadwick to write, but you can really feel his love for his protagonist. Remarkable. But nestled in this story of personal understanding and growth, is the wonderful philosophical exposition of the essence of human kindness. And that is.....

Jane’s death and funeral. How lovely to take a lawyer who doesn’t believe in God and make her the person most symbolic of charity as defined in 1 Corinthians xiii.

This is the essence of the Christian life, yet not in a church, and surely not from a preacher’s mouth...so subtly done.

The chapter means that we can know many things and have many things and do many things and yet, that is all nothing unless we are pure of heart, that we act charitably, for the sake of others and God and with no expectation of reward. It also means that what we know now is cloaked in a riddle: we only know part. That perfection awaits us in the ultimate answer that God will provide. (I write this, though a infidel). Chadwick certainly makes Jane the poster child for the charitable person. The second part, however....and perhaps, he elides: “When I was a child…..” Does he mean Ripple, who as a younger man somnambulated through a marriage and the growth of his children? He watched TV. Not a bad man, but an incomplete man. But then he took Mrs. Bradecki to Poland, and met and loved Jane, grew fond of Schubert. He came to understand, to see life not so darkly through its glass.

Ripple is smart enough and kind enough. He wants to be liked but if he isn’t, well, it really isn’t that big a deal. He suffers fools.

He admits his flaws. Indeed, he is flawed, but isn’t that the way it must be in a flawed world?

He seems to loathe no one.

He gets by.

I really miss Tom Ripple.
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Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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message 1: by Fionnuala (new)

Fionnuala Very interesting, this idea of a novel about a man whose main attribute seems to be kindness. Why not?
I had never heard of Charles Chadwick but now I am curious. I see you wrote this seven years ago. Have you read anything else by him since? Did he write anything else since?


Tony Here's the remarkable thing, Fionnuala: Chadwick worked for the British Council, the UK's international organization for educational opportunities and cultural relations. He was posted in Nigeria, Canada, elsewhere. He wrote the first part of the book in about a year and then put it away for eight years. He kept coming back to it and leaving it, always wondering what Tom Ripple was up to. So, it took him 31 years to write! He finished it at age 72. Kind of a retirement job (which gives me hope).

I saw that Chadwick published another novel a few short years after this one but I haven't read it and it got nowhere near the buzz.

It reminds me of 'Long Time, No See' because of the examination of the quotidian and about how someone can slowly become a better man.

I highly recommend it to you.

And yes, this review was written seven years ago before I got my chops.


message 3: by Fionnuala (new)

Fionnuala Tony wrote: "Here's the remarkable thing, Fionnuala: Chadwick worked for the British Council, the UK's international organization for educational opportunities and cultural relations. He was posted in Nigeria,..."

So he's like a modern Woolf or Orwell, posted abroad and using the time/experience help him create his fiction?
And like those two, he sounds like his heart's in the right state, beating for humanity


Tony Hmm. I would say No, Fionnuala. He wasn't writing about Over There, even when his character strays from the Isle. It's about the evolution of a man, even late in life. And since this took 30 years to write, we can watch the evolution of a writer alongside the evolution of a character.

But Yes, his heart and his character's heart get to the right place, even if they beat quietly.


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