English Weather Paperback – 9 Nov 2000
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An unforgettable novel following the fortunes of one man through the memories of those who loved or fought with him, in an England changing faster than the English weather.
About the Author
SALES POINTS ¿Ingenious and absorbing . . . a compelling book which offers a moving and subtle view of late 20th century English life¿ The Times ¿A virtuoso performance¿ Sunday Telegraph ¿Thanks to Ferguson¿s skill, one can¿t help feeling sorry not to have met him. The result is exciting as the various lives coincide and connect before diverging once again¿ Time Out ¿Fiction often traces a life from beginning to end. This novel reverses the pattern, introducing a fascinating, flawed character, Greg Harris . . . Let Ferguson button-hole you: he is a terrific storyteller¿ Mail on Sunday ¿Neil Ferguson writes with unfaltering conviction and a refreshing lack of cynicism¿ New Statesman ¿English Weather is a happy surprise . . . and well worth buying. it is enjoyable, smart, well-written . . . a terrific British novel¿ Spectator
Top Customer Reviews
What I keep finding myself thinking about is what the main character means. It says on the (annoying) back-cover blurb that Greg Harris is an ordinary bloke, but he clearly isn't, and isn't meant to be. For one thing, a couple of the narrators say that he looks like Jesus. I wonder whether he represents the spirit of that generation - formed in the war, crushed in the fifties, blossoming in the sixties and then compromised and betrayed in the seventies and eighties. But I don't know.
The fact that each of the eight narrators has only one chapter, each done in a totally different style, means that you keep having the regret of leaving behind people or voices you've become attached to, and then the disorientation of meeting someone new, whom you might not like. My favourites were Petros Tecklemarion, Arthur Morris and Violet Hoskin.
Neil Ferguson was my writing teacher at the City Lit in London for two terms, back in 2005. I've read a couple of his other books, but didn't read this one until now because someone else on the course said that all the characters in it are horrible. They aren't at all.Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
English Weather tells the story of Gregory Harris, literally from death to birth, from the perspective of eight characters in his life, ranging from an Eritrean refugee, a boxing coach, a Salvation Army children's home worker, and an old school friend turned lover. The settings of the chapters range from jail cells to manor houses, from San Francisco to eastern Turkey, from World War II to the1990s. The formats are diaries, letters, interviews, and reminiscences. It's a gimmick, but it works!
One character says, "The thing I've always liked about books is that when you're in the middle of one you can forget where you are, that you are in prison and miserable. You're somewhere else--in another country even. You find yourself crying about something that happened to people you don't even know, who are completely different to you. And while you're reading, the end is already there in your own hand waiting to happen."
English Weather did this for me--a day spent in the company of eight very different people who knew Gregory Harris. I am left wanting to know this admirable, but enigmatic man better.
But the title? Why is this novel called English Weather? I am puzzled.