Naomi Alderman – The Power (2016)

The PowerInequality is everywhere.

Evidencing inequality is the easy part.  Exposing the injustice and ridiculous consequences of inequality is important.  But, understanding the reasons for its ongoing hold on social life is where it gets difficult.  This novel Naomi Alderman’s The Power runs with the suggestion that the reason for gender inequality is as banal as physical strength.  Continue reading


Tess Hadley – The Past (2015)

the pastAfter the trauma of reading The Tidal Zone, Tessa Hadley’s The Past was a welcome retreat.  A mildly dysfunctional family in a cosy, mildly dysfunctional setting.  It was a charming, knowing read.  It understood the point of fiction and the number of roles it can play.

One aspect of the story is the romantic relationship between Molly and Kasim, in which the slightly older Kasim casts himself as knowing seducer. Of course, it is not as simple as that:

“Don’t be anxious about this, he said – I’ll be very gentle.  I’ve had quite a bit of experience.

– I’ve had some too, Molly said, – so I’m not anxious”

Continue reading

Ian McEwan – The Children Act

Iian mcewan start this blog with a big thank you for the warm welcome and the stimulating discussion at UCLAN on 9th February where Ian McEwan’s The Children Act was discussed as part of the social work book group (follow on twitter: @SWBookGroup).  This could have been a daunting prospect.  It is easy for me to sit in a study on my own spouting my opinions about the link between literature and social policy, social justice and social work, but another thing entirely to engage with real people in a real debate about it, especially when those people include the two Chief Social Workers.  However, I am  glad I made the trip to Preston to have the link between a discussion of art and social work endorsed by both Isabelle and Lyn (and this is also in writing here: Continue reading