The Northern Clemency

Front Cover
Fourth Estate, 2008 - Fiction - 738 pages
23 Reviews
An epic chronicle of the last 20 years of British life from the Booker longlisted and Granta Best of Young British novelist, Philip Hensher. Beginning in 1974 and ending with the fading of Thatcher's government in 1996, 'The Northern Clemency' is Philip Hensher's epic portrait of an entire era, a novel concerned with the lives of ordinary people and history on the move. Set in Sheffield, it charts the relationship between two families: Malcolm and Katherine Glover and their three children; and their neighbours the Sellers family, newly arrived from London so that Bernie can pursue his job with the Electricity Board. The day the Sellers move in there is a crisis across the road: Malcolm Glover has left home, convinced his wife is having an affair. The consequences of this rupture will spread throughout the lives of both couples and their children, in particular 10-year-old Tim Glover, who never quite recovers from a moment of his mother's public cruelty and the amused taunting of 15-year-old Sandra Sellers, childhood crises that will come to a head twenty years later.In the background, England is changing: from a manufacturing and industrial based economy into a new world of shops, restaurants and service industries, a shift particularly marked in the North with the miners' strike of 1984, which has a dramatic impact on both families. Inspired by the expansive scale and webs of relationships of the great nineteenth-century Russian novels, 'The Northern Clemency' shows Philip Hensher to be one of our greatest chroniclers of English life.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - lizchris - LibraryThing

This begins in 1970s suburban Sheffield, the story of two families spanning two decades. The lives feel ordinary to start with. Small events - a teenage girl's flirtation with a removal man, a mother ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Eyejaybee - LibraryThing

Quite clearly, without let or hindrance, without mitigation or qualification, this was the worst novel I have read this year. Reading this book was like being water-boarded, just without the fun bits. Read full review

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About the author (2008)

Philip Hensher is a columnist for The Independent, arts critic for The Spectator and a Granta Best of Young British novelist. He has written five novels, 'Other Lulus', 'Kitchen Venom' (Winner of the Somerset Maughn Award), 'Pleasured', the Booker-longlisted 'The Mulberry Empire' and 'The Fit', as well as a collection of short stories, 'The Bedroom of the Mister's House'. He lives in South London.

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