6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: Fallout (Hardcover)
Set mostly in London in 1970s, Sadie Jones' fourth novel focuses on Luke Kanowski, a young, good-looking and charismatic playwright who has an unhappy childhood behind him - his French mother has been in an asylum for the insane since he was a small boy and his Polish father takes refuge by drinking himself into oblivion. Setting off from his dreary Northern hometown with two holdalls and his record player, Luke arrives in London and looks up an acquaintance, Paul Driscoll, a young, would-be producer and they soon set up a small theatre company called Graft, situated in a pub where they stage radical plays. Before long they are joined by Leigh Radley, an attractive stage manager who, although very attracted to Luke, becomes Paul's girlfriend, and the three of them move into a rather cramped flat together. In his spare time, and when he is not chasing women, Luke spends hours in his room furiously writing and although he is highly critical of his work, he finally produces a play that becomes a resounding success. His success brings him into the orbit of well-known producer, Tony Moore, and his beautiful but fragile actress wife, Nina. When Luke and Nina set eyes on one another, they fall headlong for one another - but Tony, who is a manipulative and controlling man with unpalatable sexual proclivities is not, for reasons of his own, prepared to let Nina go (and does she really want to?) - and soon everyone around them becomes involved in the fallout.
This is an intense and involving story, where period and setting are carefully evoked and one which explores emotional damage and control. Although not a fast-paced, or plot-driven tale, it does have its compelling moments, and Sadie Jones' portrayal of the world of theatre is particularly convincing with some interesting scenes of drama both on and off the stage. It is true that several of the characters are self-regarding individuals who do not invite immediate sympathy, especially Nina's cold, selfish and ambitious actress mother - however, Luke's torment is very convincingly portrayed - both as a teenager, when in a heart-breaking scene he manages to escape from the asylum with his mother, dressed in her daisy cardigan and wellington boots, and takes her to the National Gallery; and then later, as young man when he suffers further torment with his longing for Nina. An immersive and fraught story of love and loss, of the damage people do to one another, and of being careful what you wish for.
Sort: Oldest first | Newest first
Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 13 May 2014 19:07:22 BDT
[Deleted by the author on 21 May 2014 18:52:05 BDT]
In reply to an earlier post on 21 May 2014 14:31:43 BDT
George Stevenson says:
Difficult to imagine how this novel could appeal to anyone, least of all those who listen to 'Book at Bedtime'. A definite turn-off.
‹ Previous 1 Next ›