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This review is from: England Made Me : (Paperback)
Atmosphere is key: the England left behind, and the watery, autumnal Sweden where twins Tony and Kate find themselves. They are about 33. Kate is the secretary and lover of powerful financier and "match king" Erik Krogh. Tony is a ne'erdowell who's knocked about the Empire and has nothing left but good looks, charm and a fund of unreliable stories. Kate gets Krogh to give Tony a job, and from then on the characters slide inevitably towards the brink of disaster. Tony and Kate corrupt Krogh - they take him out of his stiff routine and into the dubious company of would-be actresses and drunken professors. Krogh wonders if it's too late to get back some of the humanity he shed on the way to the top. But the glimpse of life Tony and Kate give him is a pretty shabby affair, after all. Tony has always gone from girl to girl. Now he picks up an English visitor from the provincial town of Coventry and they have a brief affair. Then they fall unexpectedly in love and Tony promises to leave his job and meet Lucia in a Moroccan cafe in Coventry a week from today. Tony has realised that Krogh is a bigger crook than either Kate or himself: he's fiddling the market and is brutally callous to any of his employees who are likely to cause trouble and dent his company's image. Like Macbeth, he employs a seedy hitman for this purpose. There are other Shakespearean echoes: the drunken professor gets funding from Krogh to put on his own translation of Pericles, and at the tawdry bar (while a Krogh employee is beaten up in the lobby), the professor answers every remark with an iambic pentameter. You expect everyone to start speaking in verse. Welcome to Greeneland!