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Crossing The Lines Hardcover – 9 Jun 2003

4.1 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Sceptre; First Edition edition (9 Jun. 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0340829656
  • ISBN-13: 978-0340829653
  • Product Dimensions: 16 x 24.2 x 4.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 852,752 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

Enthralling, a joy to read ... immensely satisfying ... [it] is a novel to live in. By that I mean of course that it's one that enriches the reader's life. (Allan Massie, Scotsman)

Enthralling, a joy to read ... The range of characters... is evidence of the richness of Melvyn Bragg's imagination. He brings to life all sorts of people, and so deepens and extends our understanding ... It's a conventional story, and you may think you have read it often. So indeed you probably have. Yet Melvyn Bragg makes it new. He makes it new and he makes it matter. He has a rare gift for exploring the inability of people to express their feelings, while allowing the reader to understand just how intense and deep those feelings are ... There is humour in the novel. There is much pleasure to be had from its recapture of times, moods, attitudea which have now slipped away. But what I admire most is Bragg's ability to give dignity to all his characters, to treat the inarticulate, and those whose experience of life is narrow, with the same respect he gives to his young hero. And he does this without sliding into sentimentality ... [it] is immensely satisfying, written with honesty and imagination ... it's a book you can trust, written with the utmost integrity. Bragg's material has been a long time maturing, and is all the better for that. The result is a novel to live in. By that I mean of course that it's one that enriches the reader's life. (Allan Massie, Scotsman)

THE SOLDIER'S RETURN

'His masterpiece' Peter Kemp, Sunday Times' Books of the Year (Peter Kemp, Sunday Times' Books of the Year)

Unsentimental, truthful and wonderful (Beryl Bainbridge, Independent's Books of the Year)

An outstandingly good novel ... One of the best English novels of the last ten years ... utterly credible, utterly compelling and very enjoyable (Allan Massie, Scotsman)

A SON OF WAR

A novel of remarkable power and grace ... his authenticity is astounding (Roy Hattersley, The Times)

Shot through with blazing integrity and authenticity (Val Hennessy, Daily Mail)

'He has laid the foundations for one of the finest literary sagas of post-war Britain.'
David Robson, Sunday Telegraph

(David Robson, Sunday Telegraph)

Crossing the Lines is both richly detailed and extraordinarily poignant (The Sunday Telegraph)

a remarkable portrait of post-war Britain...combining evocative and convincing period details with effortless and engrossing story-telling, it is a considerable achievement - and a wonderfully readable book. (SAGA)

Book Description

The third part in what is set to be a classic series begun in the bestselling THE SOLDIER'S RETURN and A SON OF WAR

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on 11 Feb. 2005
Format: Paperback
Crossing the Lines sees the central character of Joe - perhaps largely modelled on the young Bragg - undergo the rites of passage into adulthood before going to Oxford University. For those who grew up in the 1950s, it is an evocative reminder of those times and what it was to be young. Bragg is an excellent novelist and this trilogy is a significant contribution to contemporary British literature.
My partner and I have loved all the books in the trilogy. Perhaps the highest compliment we can pay is that they are books we hope to read again.
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Format: Paperback
This is an excellent book. I found this by mistake and haven't read the others in the series but I'm very impressed and will certainly be reading the other two. In fact they are on my Christmas List this year.

For some it may be hard going to start but, if you hang on it will reward.

I just couldn't put it down, whenever I get the chance I read a few pages which went into a chapter then a couple of chapters. I was actually late for work a couple of times because of it.

If you like a well presented book and are interested in our history and social upbringing then this is for you.

I look forward to the next one.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This third book in the trilogy is remarkable. Throughout the three books, I have wrestled with where to place Bragg in my experience of literature. I am now convinced that - at least in these three books - he ranks with the very best. I am inclined to agree with those who have stated that, had Bragg not become eminent in so many areas, the quality of his writing would have been more widely accepted. His portrayal of an unlikely grammar school boy destined to become a true academic is insightful and multi- layered. The central character ( Joe ) is assumed to be Bragg himself. His first and all consuming love for Rachel is beautifully portrayed and honest. The heartbreak of the split is vivid. The transition to Oxford is preceded by a wonderful description of how literature, music, art, and religion occupy a consuming part of Joe's early adult years and the "devouring" of each of these art genres goes some way to explaining the man whom Bragg was to become.
It is no surprise that he acclaimed the merit of the Bible in a lengthy exposition published late in life.
The wonders and horrors of Oxford are dealt with honestly, while the mystique of that ancient house of learning is laid bare.
English society with all its class obsession is painted on a non judgemental canvas.
A book that rewards persistence in the reader.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book nicely rounded off the Trilogy and brought to the mind of this 82 year old many circumstances and concerns that invaded my mind in similar times to those described by Melvyn Bragg. It was just a little too long for me but in spite of that it was very readable. I'm now in danger of being "hooked" on his writings.
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Thinly disguised autobiography covering teenage years and 'coming of age' novel. For those who grew up in the 50s and 60s there is much to relate to and identify with. An easier read than the previous one as the author's rhythm has become more relaxed (or have I got more accustomed to his style?). Enjoyable, but with any sequel I am not sure if the experiences of the adult man will ever hold the same interest as the story of the lad discovering for the first time what life involves, and how he fits into his place in the world.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'm glad I continued reading 'Crossing the Line', I enjoyed the latter part of the book more than the beginning. Although I had read (and enjoyed enormously) both 'The Soldiers Return' and 'A Son of War', I found the introduction unnecessarily abstract, Like the occasional conversations I have with a particular neighbour who talks to me about people, whom I have never met, as if I had or I ought to have met. Perhaps that is Melvyn's point, but I find it frustrating.
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Format: Hardcover
Having read and enjoyed the two earlier books in the series about the life or young Joe Richardson and his progress through post war Britain I was eager to read Crossing the Lines as the story line and the time line to some degree matched my own. However this book did not match up to my expectations. I became increasing distanced from Joe's character. For me he seemed too preoccupied with his own narrow concerns whereas the earlier books seemed to provide a broader sweep of concerns of the time. This book was too focused Joe's personal odyssey. I began to see him too caught up with his own concerns and in the end mainly concerned with 'aping his betters' at Oxford. Having said that those who are not acquainted with the era and interested in gaining a deeper understanding of the impact of the post-war expansion of opportunities for the bright working class children will find this novel an entertaining and instructive read.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Set in the 1950s it tells a typical tale of the changes that have to be overcome in maturing in the aftermath of a major war.
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