Jayne Charles's Reviews > Hearts and Minds

Hearts and Minds by Amanda Craig
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's review
Apr 17, 2012

really liked it
Read from April 17 to 24, 2012

This was like wandering along a street with many tributary roads all of which seem worth investigating. Built loosely around a murder, I guessed the perpetrator before the halfway mark but it hardly mattered because there was so much else going on in this excellent novel. I particularly admire the way Amanda Craig depicts people in impoverished circumstances – just when you think things can’t get any worse, they invariably do.

The book investigates the issue of multiculturalism and the immigrant experience in London through the eyes of characters from many walks of life, and by doing so makes a number of astute points. Stereotypes are challenged (a non-racist white South African, an American who seems more British than the British, a struggling Romanian immigrant with a surprising profession). The characters are suffused with a kind of rosy glow, all seem well meaning, with the possible exception of the Islamic family , the only bit where accusations of negative stereotyping might be made.

There was humour too amid the bleakness. Sebastian in particular was tremendous value for his half a page or so of action. All in all an excellent read, my favourite so far by this author.

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