“The Northern Clemency” by Philip Hensher

This is the best book I’ve read in years. A true rival to Middlemarch – a novel with epic themes with believable characters with flaws and aptitudes. I really felt involved in Sheffield and cared deeply about the characters. And the writing! Exquisite. I’ve never been that excited about Booker winners or shortlisted books before as I thought were all a bit too clever and trying to hard to win a Booker – but this was fantastic.

The characters of Katherine, Malcolm, their children and neighbours persistently stay in your mind. Tho mostly set in Sheffield, the trips to Australia, London and an overblown country house are perfectly realised and definitely bring alive the sense of being far from home, but still with your thoughts back there occasionally, despite, in Sandra’s case, not wanting them to be so.

Astonishing. Read it.

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