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Unexploded (2013)

by Alison MacLeod(Favorite Author)
3.57 of 5 Votes: 3
0241142636 (ISBN13: 9780241142639)
Hamish Hamilton
review 1: For some reason this book didn't quite do it for me. It is a slightly different take on a war story in that it is set in Brighton in 1940 when the threat of a German invasion was very real and the people who lived there were understandably very worried. But it tells the tale of middle class angst and really shows up peoples prejudices as well as their justified fears. I couldn't really warm to the main characters although maybe they were very much a product of their time - narrow and small minded. The boy Orson is just such a nasty little boy. He reveres his older brother Hal even though it becomes apparent that he was probably part of Oswald Mosley's youth. When Hal is returned home horribly injured Orson takes on the responsibility of trying to make things better fo... morer him. I suppose the pointlessness of war is so ingrained in me that I just couldn't engage with the ideas presented by the book. We certainly cannot be proud of how we treated aliens and internees and I suspect that nothing much has changed today
review 2: A dark look at England during WW II, with none of the 'we all pulled together' feeling of so many books about the Blitz. Here British anti-semitism is alive and well and we see the world of pre-war England, the world where couples meet at a cotillion, crumbling along with the destruction of the Brighton piers. The characters are strong and believable, although the Jewish refuge is, despite, all he's been through, a little too much of a romantic hero. Throughout the novel, we're haunted by the coming of Virginia Wolfe's suicide, a thread that reminds us that this world is coming to an end. What the new one will be, we don't yet know. less
Reviews (see all)
A slow start but worthwhile. Brighton is well written.
The best book I have read in the past five years.
2013 Man Booker Prize longlist
Very disappointed by this.
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