Monday, 24 August 2009
South of the River
Blake Morrison's novel is set in Fulham, at the start of the New Labour government, but its not especially about politics as such.It did take me a while to get into this story - I started it last summer but put it aside after only a few pages. However when I picked it up again I persisted and finished it in a few days.For some reason, it took a little while to get used to the multi-voice narrative, as the story is told by several people,young, old, male and female, each giving their own point of view on sometimes the same event, but sometimes carrying the story forward. There is also more than one storyline, as each character has their own, while still being part of the others as well. Nat, a failed dramatist and part-time lecturer, married to Libby, a hard-working mother and advertising executive. Harry is a friend and former pupil of Nat's, as is Anthea, who is a bit of a lost soul, obsessed with foxes. Nat's Uncle Jack is similarly obsessed, although in his case the obsession takes the form of fox-hunting twice a week. Foxes in fact are a continuing theme in the novel, which includes the New Labour anti-fox hunting Bill. When I had finished this novel, I found it had been a satisfying read, with its mix of personalities, politics, journalism and life in south London.