Eastenders with fires and bombs and high-pressure relationships/hoses ...,
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This review is from: Caught (London Writing) (Paperback)
Written by Henry Vincent Yorke (Eton and Oxford) aka Henry Green, this novel is a curious mix of grittiness, charm and awkwardness. It is a fairly convincing period piece which captures the brutality of life as a member of London's Auxillary Fire Service during WW 2.However, it suffers from inadequate editing.
The excessively lengthy conversations in Eastend dialect between the AFS men, convey the impression that as a 'posho' the author is determined to appear as one of the lads. Such is the extent of the carefully rendered local dialect, that is is frequently close to parody, although this may be partly a result of reading it in 2013. The final pages consist of the hero, Roe, giving an account of his near death blitz experiences to his wife in their country home. A stronger editor would have positioned this more centrally in the novel, which is curiously short of action for the most part given the subject matter, and, could have gone further to make a convincing novella of the novel, the form of which is at best episodic. Given the educated nature of the author, it is perhaps not surprising that he has set out to write a novel of character: unfortunately, the balance between action and its impact on the key characters is misjudged.( Hence 4 stars.)
A bonus is the brief Introduction by Professor Jeremy Treglown, which sets the scene and whets the reade'rs appetite.