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A little gem
on 19 March 2013
It's long been a bit of a mystery to me why Lucy Wadham isn't a more celebrated or recognised writer. Certainly I found her last full-length novel 'Greater Love' stunningly evocative and powerful - more so than anything Ian McEwan or Sebastian Faulks have managed in their last couple of books.
For those who have yet to discover her, this lovely (and beautifully produced) short book is a great place to start. It's less of a meditation upon the Circle Line or Tube than a deeply personal account of growing up in 70s Chelsea. I never lived in that part of the world but it was a place of pilgrimage (by Tube) for me and my mates: it was where you went to discover what was new, what was fashionable, what was 'going down' amidst the Head trendsetters of London. Wadham doesn't say it outright but for the young Londoner looking to grow wings and escape the clutches of a Straight home - in her case, a fabulously colourful but not entirely nurturing milieu - the Tube was nothing less than a lifeline.
Reading this, I found the atmosphere of that time vividly re-evoked. She is very good at capturing the questing spirit of youth, the arrogance that it needs to redefine the world on its terms, and the sadness that comes with understanding all this only when it's too late to do anything with such insight. A little gem of a book.