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The Valley: A Hundred Years in the Life of a Family Hardcover – 24 Apr 2014
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It's hard to imagine a more compelling account of its generational aftereffects than the one contained here . Profoundly moving . To be allowed to share all of those secrets is, as Benson notes, a privilege for the writer - but it's a privilege for the reader too. This is social history at its very best (GQ Magazine)
The moving history of four generations of one Yorkshire mining family. Through them emerges the story of 20th century working-class England (Woman & Home)
This rare and finely tempered work serves up a devastating combination of memory and imagination ... The Valley is a landmark history (Literary Review)
The detail is delivered in a fine poetic rhythm ... Wonderfully evocative ... Not for a heartbeat is there a false or faltering note as various life stories unfurl and conflate, invariably amid hardship and leading to heartbreak (The Times)
Could not be more meticulous or magically intimate if it tried . Exquisite, finely worked texture of petit point ... the reader comes to feel he is holding not a book of social history in his hands, but a fat and vivid novel ... The Valley is a masterpiece of empathy and good writing, and I hope that in months to come it will be on the receiving end of a great deal of reciprocal love (Observer)
Benson captures the hard graft and constant perils of colliery life with cinematic vividness ... For an unvarnished, well-crafted obituary of the human side of mining, there won't be anything better than The Valley (Independent)
The early sections of The Valley recall the world described by D. H. Lawrence in Sons and Lovers but, with her spirit guides and secret passions, Winnie could have wandered in from the pages of One Hundred Years of Solitude ... The Valley is an extraordinary book about hidden lives ***** (Frances Wilson, Daily Telegraph)
Intensely enjoyable (Sunday Times)
How many social reports have you read that combine the epic sweep of Gone With The Wind with the microscopic intensity of Tolstoy ... Extraordinary . There is no need for photographs to put a face to the individuals so compellingly captured by Benson **** (Sunday Express)
Fascinating (Daily Express)
From the no.1 bestselling author of The Farm, this is the story of twentieth century working-class England through four generations of a Yorkshire mining familySee all Product description
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Benson is lucky that his family lived through such momentous times and that they were willing to be so honest with him. They are also lucky to have such a wonderful writer to chronicle what in most ways are ordinary lives, the sort that history often forgets.
This is social history of a place and way of life that seemed set in stone for generations past and generations to come. Yet in no more than a handful of years it has gone. It will never come back. Some might well argue that is a good thing.
It will not be long before "The Valley" becomes a social history set text on a par with 'Lark Rise To Candleford' and 'The Classic Slum'.
It's a big book at just over 500 pages, but a very human story with characters to like and some to dislike. The author writes about them without bias and I found it all really interesting.
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