BOOKER SHORTLISTED 2008. An epic chronicle of the last 20 years of British life from the Booker shortlisted and Granta Best of Young British novelist, Philip Hensher.
Beginning in 1974 and ending with the fading of Thatcher's government in 1996, ‘The Northern Clemency’ is Philip Hensher's epic portrait of an entire era, a novel concerned with the lives of ordinary people and history on the move.
Set in Sheffield, it charts the relationship between two families: Malcolm and Katherine Glover and their three children; and their neighbours the Sellers family, newly arrived from London so that Bernie can pursue his job with the Electricity Board. The day the Sellers move in there is a crisis across the road: Malcolm Glover has left home, convinced his wife is having an affair. The consequences of this rupture will spread throughout the lives of both couples and their children, in particular 10-year-old Tim Glover, who never quite recovers from a moment of his mother's public cruelty and the amused taunting of 15-year-old Sandra Sellers, childhood crises that will come to a head twenty years later. In the background, England is changing: from a manufacturing and industrial based economy into a new world of shops, restaurants and service industries, a shift particularly marked in the North with the miners' strike of 1984, which has a dramatic impact on both families.
Inspired by the expansive scale and webs of relationships of the great nineteenth-century Russian novels, ‘The Northern Clemency’ shows Philip Hensher to be one of our greatest chroniclers of English life.
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The Northern Clemency by Philip HensherReview:
An ambitious novelist who attempts something on as broad canvas as Philip Hensher does here is a rarity – add to that a fastidious attention to period (i.e. 1970s) detail, and – most daunting of all – a large panoply of points of view, shared among several protagonists. But in The Northern Clemency, Hensher accomplishes all of that – and more – with both precision and panache.
Essentially, this is an (upmarket) family saga, detailing the lives of a pair of families who live on opposite sides of a street in Sheffield in the 1970s, bringing to life a host of characters whose problems – and ultimate destines – both disturb and move the reader. Philip Hensher couches all of this in prose that performs a fascinating balancing act: it is as descriptive and nuanced as one might wish, but it is also extremely refined -- in the sense that there is nary a wasted word; everything here absolutely justifies its place, and Hensher suggests to the careful reader that he has lavished the most forensic of attention on the craft of his novel.
Perhaps the perfect audience for The Northern Clemency is the modern reader who has lamented that contemporary fiction lacks the heft and reach of the great novelists of the past. Such a reader will find that a taste for the substantial is more than fulfilled by Hensher’s highly accomplished saga. --Barry Forshaw
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Book Description Harpercollins Publishers, 2008. Hardcover. Book Condition: Brand New. 736 pages. In Stock. Bookseller Inventory # zk0007174799
Book Description Fourth Estate, 2008. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0007174799
Book Description Fourth Estate, 2008. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # P110007174799
Book Description Book Condition: Brand New. Book Condition: Brand New. Bookseller Inventory # 97800071747991.0