The Dark Circle: Shortlisted for the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction 2017 (Hardback)Linda Grant (author)
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Shortlisted for the Bailey’s Women’s Prize for Fiction 2017
London. Big black old place, falling down, hardly any colour apart from a woman’s red hat going into the chemist with her string bag and if you looked carefully, bottle-green leather shoes on that girl, but mostly grey and beige and black and mud-coloured people with dirty hair and unwashed shirt collars, because everything is short, soap is short, joy is short, sex is short, and no one on the streets is laughing so jokes must be short too.
The Second World War is over, a new decade is beginning but for an East End teenage brother and sister, Lenny and Miriam Lynskey, living on the edge of the law, life has been suspended.
For this is 1949 and the newly minted NHS has opened its doors to everyone no matter their social status, the beginning of a revolution in British healthcare. Sent away to a tuberculosis sanatorium in Kent to learn the way of the patient, the siblings find themselves in the company of army and air force officers, a car salesman, a young university graduate, a mysterious German woman, a member of the aristocracy and an American merchant seaman.
Here they discover that a cure is tantalisingly just out of reach and only by inciting wholesale rebellion can freedom be snatched.
‘…sharp, bright, heartbreaking…’ – Christabel Kent, Guardian
‘The Dark Circle is, beneath its narrative surface, fiercely political. She poses a large, naggingly relevant, question. What would (will?) privatisation of the NHS mean? Read this fine, persuasive, moving novel and contemplate — if you can dare to — that awful possibility’ – John Sutherland, The Times
‘…disturbing contemporary issues linger ominously in Grant’s margins, silently enriching what’s already an astonishingly good period piece.’ – The Independent
‘…an immensely enjoyable and beautifully written book, filled with humour and pathos’ – Ian Critchley, Literary Review
A novelist and journalist, Linda Grant’s first novel The Cast Iron Shore was published in 1995, she followed it up with When I Lived in Modern Times (which won the Orange Prize for Fiction), Still Here (long-listed for the Man Booker Prize), The Clothes on Their Backs, We Had it So Good, Upstairs at the Party and The Dark Circle. Amongst her published works of non-fiction are Remind Me Who I Am Again and The Thoughtful Dresser.
Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
Number of pages: 320
Weight: 556 g
Dimensions: 169 x 238 x 32 mm
A Grant novel is always a treat . . . Grant captures the stigma that surrounded TB perfectly * Evening Standard *
A writer whose language crackles with vitality and whose descriptive powers are working at such a high level * Spectator *
Linda Grant brings a forgotten slice of social and medical history to life by conjuring a rich cast of disparate - though equally desperate - characters observed with wry humour and affection to produce an absorbing and profoundly moving story -- John Harding * Daily Mail *
The novel is funny but also poignant . . . I loved it * Stylist *
The Dark Circle is, beneath its narrative surface, fiercely political. She poses a large, naggingly relevant, question. What would (will?) privatisation of the NHS mean? Read this fine, persuasive, moving novel and contemplate - if you can dare to - that awful possibility -- John Sutherland * The Times *
Fascinating . . . a revealing insight: both funny and illuminating, it is a novel about what it means to treat people well, medically, emotionally and politically -- Hannah Beckerman * Observer *
Grant is so good at conjuring up atmosphere and writes with earthy vivacity -- Anthony Gardner * Mail on Sunday *
Contemporary issues linger ominously in Grant's margins, silently enriching what's already an astonishingly good period piece -- Lucy Scholes * Independent *
Her cast of characters is nothing less than a portrayal of post-war, class-riven Britain from the indolent aristocracy, to Oxford-educated blue stockings, and from car salesmen to the bottom of the pile, German emigres and East End Jewish lowlifes . . .This is a novel, above all, about trauma caused by the "dark circle" of tuberculosis, and results in a "tight circle" of comradeship. The ambitious reach of the novel is wisely held in check by its focus on a time when Lenny and Miriam had to discover for themselves what it was to be human * Jewish Chronicle *
A rich, engaging novel, further proof that Grant can conjure up a special mood in a specific period with great humour -- Ben Lawrence * Sunday Telegraph *
Extraordinarily affecting -- Alex Preston * Observer *
An extraordinary depiction of the physical and emotional experience of illness. She marvellously communicates the poignancy of youth and sexuality in the presence of impending death. Grant's voice is unlike any other writer; so immediate and engaged even when writing historical fiction -- Natasha Walter
An amazing subject, wonderfully depicted, with plausible people whom I grew to love . . . the most surprising plot developments. So original and full of life -- Joan Bakewell
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“TB , love, life in Britain after war...”
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Thanks to Little, Brown for the review copy.
Twins Lenny and Miriam are diagnosed with TB and, on the NHS, are taken from post-war London to a sanatorium known as the Gwendo in rural Kent. It's a simple enough... More
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THE DARK CIRCLE
Lenny, a Jewish cockney is delighted to be exempted from army service until he discovers he has TB and has probably infected his beloved twin sister, Miriam. They are shipped off to a... More
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