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A Summer In The Twenties (1981)

by Peter Dickinson(Favorite Author)
3.44 of 5 Votes: 4
1618730843 (ISBN13: 9781618730848)
Small Beer Press
review 1: This is so well written, so atmospheric in the telling and the characters and attitudes, that I had to keep reminding myself it was not a period piece, but had been written by a master of style in the late 1970s. For all his subtle and elegant mysteries, I'd never read straight fiction by Dickinson. What a treat.As to 'the Twenties' in the title, it's not only the (in)famous British General Strike of 1926, but the twenties of many of the participants - especially in this story. It's mainly about the upper-class Oxbridge sons and one daughter of the landed gentry, fighting for their wealth against the Commies (all labor are Commies, didn't you know that?), by volunteering to drive the trains and buses and keep British Business going. Similar experiences occur on the strike... morers' side, led by the mysterious "Ricardo" and the activist-orator "Red Kate Barnes". They are determined to bring the nation's transport to a halt in efforts to resist the lengthening of the workers' week and a simultaneous cut in their wages.The learning curve is different for each of these characters, some bearing guns and others their minds.Though no one becomes anything radically different from their upbringing, the processes and degrees of those learning curves form a subtly-told tale of risk, danger and betrayals. There is a lovely hijacking plot of a food delivery being kept by the government and business leaders as a carrot to bring the strikers into line told in incredibly fine prose, which increases the tension more than any bash-em-up telling could. In fact there are several wonderful set pieces. They all come together. And the writing is exquisite. There is no other word. Mr. Dickinson is a past master. I've never been less than enthralled by his books.
review 2: I liked this reasonably well; a sympathetic main character, an interesting tie-in to history (labour unrest in 1920s Britain, the way that conservatives supported the rise of fascism, etc), and a good romance. But I keep finding Dickinson's work very predictable, which surprises me for books which are subtitled "a novel of suspense." I haven't read much in the genre, but I expected the tension which makes it suspenseful to come from not having any idea what would happen next, whose side people were on, etc etc. I'm not sure if these are just oddities in the genre, or if my expectations are wrong. less
Reviews (see all)
Beautiful young things, romance, labor unrest, train driving, and fascist conspiracy -- oh, my!
Interesting; a conservative view of Bolshevik strikes in England.
didn't like this book, not sure why but never finished it.
I just can't get into this.
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