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

Helen Dunmore – The Lie (2014)

The Lie

The blurb for this short novel reads:

Cornwall 1920

A young man stands looking out to sea.

Behind him the horror of the trenches, and the most intense relationship of his life.

Ahead of him the terrible unforeseen consequences of a lie.

I picked up this book for two reasons. First I had read previous books by Dunmore and her flair for recreating an historic moment through careful research but few words is a pleasure. Second, it is about the First World War, an era that fascinates me by being both near and far in the public imagination.

L P Hartley wrote as the first words to The Go Between:

The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there.

Contrast this with Eric Midwinter (1994: 11) writing about history and social policy:

It is more than a passing or antiquated interest which should prompt an appraisal of medieval England. Apart from the discovery there of the origins of some present day welfare mechanisms, it serves the other purpose of demonstrating how societies different in style from our own are faced with basically similar problems

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