A real broad canvas of a novel that examines life under the Thatcher government in 1980s Britain, but it's not just a piece of political tub-thumping. The story plants its roots in the 1940s and uses the shenanigans of a particular influential family to illustrate the gradual dismantling and restructuring of British society and, above all, how the whims of this one group of people have far-reaching and devastating consequences for the average person on the street.
But I don't want to make it sound like a grim sociopolitical tract. At times, it's incredibly funny, and occasionally very touching. It's bookended by World War II and the Gulf War, but its examination of society probes like a laser beam into the minutiae of everyday things that affect us all, like public transport, healthcare, what we eat, how we think. Ultimately, it's a very human novel, superbly constructed and deserving of high praise.
And while I kind of see what previous reviewers mean about it not appealing to Tories or illustrating a class war, I should try to look beyond those issues because this isn't just a book about politics, it's about people - it's about us, and what we have allowed to happen to our society.