Jack the Lad and Bloody Mary Paperback – 19 Apr 2007
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'A vivid picture of life in the Blitz ... This enormous book contains much
that is grim, bloody, almost overwhelming to read, but it proves Connolly
to be an original and masterly novelist.' -- The Daily Mail
'By uniting moral fable with melodrama and action thriller Connolly creates
an exuberant, often powerful and moving reading of the underside of the
second world war.' -- Guardian
Connolly has a fine ear...the dialogue...is wonderfully evocative of the
time and the society. It is an extraordinary work of sympathetic
imagination. -- The Scotsman, 12th May 2007
The domestic texture of the 1930s and 1940s is recreated in great detail.
The result...is undeniably powerful and moving. -- The Evening Standard, 8th May 2007
This enormous book contains much that is grim, bloody, almost overwhelming
to read, but it proves Connolly to be an original and masterly novelist -- The Daily Mail, 20th April 2007
'A blackly funny tale of love and betrayal ... JACK THE LAD is a tour de force of sustained invention.' -- The Times
'A bravura piece of fiction, often shocking ... but ultimately breathtaking.' -- Daily Telegraph
'Why isn't Joseph Connolly more famous? It is one of the
imponderables of modern British fiction ... an interesting companion piece
to that other recent sideways look at London during the Second World War,
The Night Watch by Sarah Waters.' -- The Telegraph
Jack the Lad and Bloody Mary is a cracking melodrama of life in
wartime. Connolly creates an exuberant, often powerful and moving reading
of the underside of the second world war. -- Guardian, 28th April 2007
Why isn't Joseph Connolly more famous? It is one of the
imponderables of modern British fiction. His literary pedigree is
impeccable. -- Telegraph, 21st April 2007
'A writer of considerable power and subtlety.' Jem Poster, GuardianSee all Product description
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The book's stream of consciousness style does make the book hard to get into, and the scenes are fluid so you sometimes get lost in the storytelling. But this style enables the reader to really get under the skin of the characters and feel sympathy for them.
Yes, one or two scenes are gruesome and I admit to skimming a couple of pages. It's also a bit over the top at times - would anyone actually have spoken like Nigel Wisely? He seems to come straight out of Dickens.
However, the book brilliantly recreates the feverish atmosphere of London pre-war and reminds us that not everyone showed the `Britain can take it' spirit during wartime.
It feels so authentic, the characters are so real and it gives such an insight into the less savoury carryings on during Britain's finest hour
Absolutely fascinating and gripping - have done little else but read it since Sunday. I was particularly impressed with a scene early on that takes you through an entire Christmas Day in 1938 told with such breathtaking pace that you only realize at the end of nearly 50 pages that nearly all the text is dialogue; you fully understand the action from what people are saying in reaction to each other. This makes the author 'disappear' in a really effective way, you no longer feel you are reading words on a page and you genuinely feel like you've shared the day and all the booze with them!
Things were so rough for the poor and the idea of being called up so frightening that you totally understand and nearly forgive their motivation for getting out of it and going crooked. In this way it reminds me of the uneasy empathy you can't help feeling for the main character in The Secret River by Kate Grenville.
So much of their time is spent in the Rose & Crown having `just one for the road, eh Jackie? - can't harm, can it?' `'ere, Len - couple of large ones in here' it made me imagine my Grandparents and their drinking buddies at the same period!
It was very easy to picture the characters and I became 'attached' to most of them.
Yes, at times, it was a difficult read because of the situations and actions of some of those characters, but nevertheless it is a fabulous piece of work and the best book I have read in a long time.
This book also contains one of the most gruesome and harrowing pieces of text I've ever read. I felt physically sick!
Maybe it's a true representation of some 'ordinary' folk who are corrupted by the situation they find themselves in but I'm not sure. I actually love this author's books but did find this a bit hard to take in places...
Poor. Very poor.