4 out of 5 stars
A copy of this was provided free of charge from the publisher in return for an honest review.
Set over the course of a day, Charlie is reliving the life that he and his identical twin brother had from their working-class background and their participation in the radical Peckham Experiment. They lost their parents in the Second World War in a bombing raid.
They emerged blinking from the war with a desire to take the communist upbringing they had had into the new era. Their ideals were shattered when the tower block they were instrumental in building collapsed in 1968 causing a number of fatalities. The estate was then demolished in the mid-1980s and JJ’s life unravelled, he was a broken man.
And now he is dead.
It is now the day before the funeral and Charlie is trying to write the eulogy for, JJ. As he works his way through a bottle of brandy and shuffles around the house he unearths fragmentary memories of their past as he gets steadily more drunk on the spirit.
There were lots of things that I liked about this book. To begin with, this is a really well-done internal monologue by the main character. Even though it reaches back to 1930, it feels like a very contemporary book too as it is set at the time of the 2017 general election and the forced societal destruction being engineered by the Tories. It taught me some things about what had happened in the 1960s to a tower block, called Ronan Point when it partially collapsed in 1968, and that The Peckham Experiment was a real thing that took place between 1926 and 1950 when people actually cared how parts of society could look after themselves. Well worth reading.