An intriguing tale of industrial life in the North, specifically Preston, where families worked in the new and innovative 'artificial silk' or 'man made fibres' industry in the early 1970's. A story of love and longing is interwoven into the narrative, between Sunehri and Tommy, poignant and tentative, you grow to love the characters, their dreams and desires, that helps the narrative rattle on, so you can't put the book down until the very end.
There is a real sense of loss in the book, written with knowledge and sensitivity, that changes in manufacturing and industry brings as the decades roll on. It makes me want to read more on the impact of those changes to individual lives and their communities, both here and abroad.
It is lovely to see a father and daughter collaborating as a team on this their first book. Well done to both of you, a most enjoyable read. Look forward to the next one.
This book is set in Northern England in the 1970's when the influence of modern technology was changing both the local industries and diversity of Preston's local communities in the historic cotton town of Lancashire.
'From Pakistan to Preston' is a wonderfully absorbing tale of the growing relationship of two of the town's young people - local lad Tommy O'Reilly and enchanting Sunehri Saleem who is newly arrived from Pakistan. The two become increasingly close within the confines their workplace, a factory that is producing an innovative new textile - artificial silk. As the story develops, Tommy and Sunehri struggle with their wish to make their growing relationship public in a town that is still coming to grips with a new community of people.
Although I did have a particular interest in this novel due to my local associations with Preston and its history, I would recommend this novel to anyone who simply wants a good read! I would also recommend a visit to the Harris Museum & Art Gallery's 'Discover Preston' section which includes a display from the Courtauld's factory which inspired this story. The display features several samples of the artificial silk produced at Courtauld's and will add to your experience of reading this novel!
The story moves between the 1970s and present day. It's ambitious, fun and has much to say about what happens when people from different backgrounds find themselves pushed together in work.
The setting, a rayon factory in the North of England, is unusual. It's good to find Britain's industrial history celebrated, even if en passant, rather than portrayed as a grim, somehow embarrassing relic of Britain's past. The story comes directly from the workers, their terraced houses and lives, in their dialects, and with their conventions and habits. But it is not a conventional story of cultures clashing, petty racism and bigoted attitudes. Instead, we find confusions and humour and struggles to understand, and, above all, love, which makes the story universal.
This is a very good book and I highly recommend it.
In this delightful novel, the making of artificial silk is the background to a burgeoning love story. The processes involved in the manufacture of what was then a pioneering product reflect the changes taking place in society - the difficult but inevitable acceptance of new ideas, with all the setbacks and leaps of imagination along the way. A most enjoyable read.
Set in the real textile industry of Preston (Lancs) this novel teaches you much, about processes, dangers and camraderie of factory working in 1970s Britain. Against this backdrop Tommy O'Reilly and Sunehri Sameel are spinning a relationship which they fear will not be allowed to blossom. But Preston and its people are changing. As the characters mature they discover Preston people have more surprising and accepting attitudes than they expected.This story is told from the perspective of Tommy, a young lad working hard and clearly with potential. At times he is annoying and foolish, but his instincts are open and tolerant. I enjoyed this book which seems a fitting tribute to an industry which is gone but not forgotten.
Tommy,young and ambitious ,creates a new shade for artificial silk in time for the 1972 Preston guild.
He courts Sunehri across the long lost industrial landscape of the 70's sprinting across viscose valley in search of his forbidden love learning her language at the same time as learning how to make silk.
This first novel from father and daughter writing team skilfully weaves the complex process of manufacturing around a simple love story as two people carefully conceal their longing for each other whilst the norms of working class life play out around them.
I confess that I couldn't put the book down once opened and I hope for a sequel.