12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
A rich stew of character-driven experience,
This review is from: In the Dark (Hardcover)
Set in a narrow terraced house in a London street, just after the start of World War I, In The Dark, tells the story of Ralph, aged 14, living with Mum and Dad, in their lodging house consisting of tenants who are mostly misfits and war casualties. Dad enlisted early and sends cheerful letters home telling of matey japes and football games in the trenches. Then Mum, Eithne, receives the telegram telling her that her husband is dead and circumstances become grim, until she attracts the attention of the flashy local butcher, Neville Turk, after which meals at the lodging house vastly improve and other changes are afoot for the inhabitants.
Moggach's rich stew of character-driven experiences captivates from the first page and there is an authentic feeling to every turn of the plot. The lodging house, next to a railway viaduct and prone to soot streaks and general grime, is almost another character as, Eithne's maid-of-all-work, Winnie, finds herself increasingly responsible for the well-being and upkeep of the family's proprieties. Young Ralph hero-worships the world-weary Boycie, soon to march off to war, and Eithne falls under the spell of the brilliantined and ebullient Mr Turk. Before the end of the novel Ralph will uncover a number of secrets kept by the family's lodgers, not least the shocking truth about the blind Communist sympathiser Alwyne Flyte.
This warm-hearted, funny and often touching novel is briskly paced and a pleasure to read.