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A powerful novel of a British family reunited after World War II that has been hailed as “a small classic, deeply touching and true” (Publishers Weekly).
In the spring of 1946, Sam Richardson is a returning soldier, back in his hometown of Wigton, England, after serving in the jungles of Burma. Waiting for him are his relieved young wife, Ellen, and six-year-old son, Joe. Little has changed in Wigton. The neighbors are still familiar, the winding alleyways are still a labyrinth—and there are still few prospects for an uneducated working-class man like Sam.
But years of war have left Sam wanting something more. Though plagued by memories of his combat experiences, he is also a far worldlier and more ambitious man than he once was. And he soon discovers to his dismay that Ellen, emboldened by years of working for survival, has also evolved beyond what is expected of a modest housewife. Yet more difficult to bear is the fact that the son he has lovingly thought of for so long barely remembers him.
As all three strive to adjust, the bonds of love and loyalty are stretched to the breaking point, in this taut and profoundly moving novel, a winner of the WH Smith Literary Award, that tells “with delicacy and remarkable strength about rural England’s struggle to return to the security of a past forever changed by the war” (Library Journal).
“A novel written in fine steel sentences and granite paragraphs.” —The Washington Post Book World
“His straightforward prose and the measured pace of his writing allow readers to savor every nuance of life in a small town in postwar England, and the depth and reality of his characters and his ability to bring the horrors of war alive are nothing short of brilliant. An impressive performance, not to be missed.” —Booklist, starred review