The Friendly Ones

Philip Hensher

Reviews of The Friendly Ones

  • Hensher’s 11th novel is his biggest and most ambitious yet: old-fashioned in its storytelling, with sly nods to The Winter’s Tale, but shot through with tenderness and peopled with an unusually rich cast of characters, from druggies and dropouts to doctors and MPs’ Mail on Sunday

    ‘At the heart of this kind and profound book, though, is something serious: Hensher’s sense of how deeply the histories that neighbours keep from each other run, how unthinkable are the experiences of violence and betrayal that some people endure, how terribly families are torn asunder by their different allegiances, and how hard it is, in the end, to make peace with that’ Financial Times

    Marvellous new novel … Zipping between Oxford and Devon, Sheffield and Dhaka, Hensher’s immersive, cartwheeling narrative follows the history of two neighbouring families in a quiet suburban street and asks reverberating and powerfully resonant questions about what makes a family, a community and a country’ Daily Mail

    Beautifully written and intelligent new novelThe Friendly Ones is about two families and how people with very different histories can fit together and redeem each other. It’s mesmerisingAttitude

    ‘With its large cast of characters and charting of intergenerational trials and tribulations, the revelation of tragedies hidden in a family’s past, and estrangements between kin, Philip Hensher’s majestic tenth novel, The Friendly Ones is reminiscent of an engrossing yet challenging Victorian classicIndependent

    ‘Hensher’s writing here has its customary virtues: self-effacing but never merely workmanlike. There is a real feel for landscapes, rural and urban, but never a lapse into purple prose.. The Friendly Ones is a long novel, able to provide the special satisfactions – narrative digressions, fully realised minor characters – no shorter book could manage’ Telegraph