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England's Lane by [Connolly, Joseph]
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England's Lane Kindle Edition

3.9 out of 5 stars 42 customer reviews

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Length: 432 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Review

'Already a writer to relish for virtuosic farce and razor-edged comedy of manners, Connolly excels with this deftly woven novel of London suburban dreams and dreads in 1959' Independent. (Independent)

'May well be his masterpiece ... Connolly unfolds a rich and compelling drama of life' Daily Mail. (Daily Mail)

'Vibrant tragicomic slices of cosmopolitan Englishness' Independent on Sunday. (Independent on Sunday)

'Connolly pulls the strings artfully in his sardonic portrait of 1950s England ... He knows exactly what he's doing, in an immensely contrived, sophisticated and satisfying game' Adam Mars-Jones, Observer. (Observer)

'Connolly has a keen sense of the hushed emotional tenderness of English life and our silent shattering pain' Sunday Telegraph. (Sunday Telegraph)

From the Inside Flap

Jim and Milly. Stan and Jane. Jonathan and Fiona. Winter, 1959. Three married couples: each living in England's Lane, each with an only child, and each attending to family, and their livelihoods - the ironmonger, the sweetshop and the butcher. Each of them hiding their lies, disguising sin, and coping in the only way they know how.


Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1202 KB
  • Print Length: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Quercus (30 Aug. 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0089XJWD6
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars 42 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #95,483 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
A gentle, yet often searching take on the dark underside of outwardly normal and respectable lives in a Britain still finding its feet after the Second World War.

Connolly tells the stories of a number of occupants of the same street in late 1950s London, as they look for a purpose in a society on the cusp of radical change.

The strength of the book lies in Connolly's ability to give each different character a credible voice, however incredible their particular circumstances and behaviour may be. A hotbed of lust, deceit, sadness, melancholy, indifference, despair, not to mention murder, this street, for all its apparent normality, provides a backdrop to drama in both major and minor keys.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The story, mainly told through interior monologues, is one of the protagonists' secret failures, disappointments and longings. The plot includes murder, adultery and deceit, but all carried out in the apparently respectable street of small shop-owners in 1950's London.'black humour'. The humour, where it occurs is broad and rests on implausible characters and actions. The characterisation is also broad - there is little development and the interior monologues become repetitive. They also slow the action to snail's pace without furthering any understanding - the fact a character enjoys a piece of fruit cake is simply not worth repeating.
I also found the writing itself dreary and repetitive. The qualifier 'so very' is used by all the characters, except for the rough, working-class character, who always speaks inn a rough, working class way! The casual sexism and racism of the times is replicated in this book, without reflection. As indeed the characters are all stereotypes, so it is perhaps apt.
No, I didn't like the book and am amazed at the positive reviews. Most people have far more patience than I do, obviously. And, yes, I do like Virginia Woolf and most of James Joyce.
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Format: Kindle Edition
It's Winter, 1959 and three married couples: each living in England's Lane, each with an only child, and each attending to family, and their livelihoods - the ironmonger, the sweetshop and the butcher. And each of them hiding their lies, coping in the only way they know how and so we meet Jim and Milly, Stan and Jane and Jonathan and Fiona.

Connolly slowly builds up each character, pulling you into their lives and just like real life, invites you to make judgements and assumptions about them. So is Milly being a genuine neighbour when she offers to sit with Jane and as she does, you begin to feel nervous for her. His writing style moves effortlessly between the characters much in the same way as you'd walk along any 1950's suburb street in England and there are wonderful depictions of behaviour so that you can easily visualise Jim sitting at his kitchen table moaning or understanding Fiona's thoughts as she lives with her husband's infidelities.

This is novel set, at a time when Connolly was growing up, is based on a real North London street that still has the pub and the chemist however now without the butcher nor the sweetshop but the obligatory Starbucks in many ways this street could be in any English town. Connolly stresses it is in no way autobiographical but for any reader who lives through the late 50's/early 60's this will be a brilliant reminder for them what life was like
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I thought this book was slow to get started, but as the characters develop and each is allowed to give their point of view on the situations that concern their lives it gathers pace. The book captures the feel of 1950s England and there are some little gems of insight into and understanding of the life they are living. This is an enjoyable and worthwhile read. Something to take a bit of time over.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I bought this almost 18 months ago, and it's sat on my Kindle waiting to be read.
It tells the story of a single street, the England's Lane of the title, over a year in 1959 and just into 1960.
Initially I found the method of storytelling - switching from character to character, and generally in the first person, as a series of thought vignettes, to be a little disconcerting. But, it was worth persevering with.
The main character is Milly - married to Jim, not especially happily. With one adopted child, but no likelihood of one of their own, the year begins with Milly having what she thinks is a special affair with the local butcher, whilst being the subject of admiration for the local sweetshop owner. As well as being very entertaining in its own right, this also reminds the reader of the many changes that took place over that period. A great book, difficult to describe, but well worth reading.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Though the switching of a kind of direct speech/though mode between characters is at first intriguing, the length of each peroration does pall after a while, and the indulgent way each character rambles on doesn't maintain much of a sense of suspense. My first Connolly, and something of a disappointment.
Perhaps I had just hoped for a more positive view of one of London's 'villages'.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Having grown up in Englands Lane in the 50's I was looking forward to this book but found it a disappointing read and didn't finish it. The combination of fact (sometimes inaccurate) and fiction with an undercurrent of misery jarred with my memories as did the characters some of whom were obviously based on real people who inhabited the Lane at the time but portrayed very differently from the people I remembered.
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