Lavinia Greenlaw puts before us the monochrome, immemorial middle England of the 1970s in all its dowdy glory, and has us see through the mercurial, bewitching Mary George’s eyes how a seemingly static landscape is suddenly illuminated by the most vivid bursts of energy, colour and drama. Punk’s torch flares into life and singes the fringes of England. Mary George bears witness and burns brighter still: she is more memorable than even the extraordinary events around her, and the reader will find it devastatingly hard to leave her company at the end of this exceptional debut about growing up under the shadow of an unknowable, inescapable small-town mystery.
Reviews of Mary George of Allnorthover
‘A poet’s eye clearly informs Greenlaw’s beautifully observed portrait of Seventies provincial life. In prose layered like paint, Greenlaw conjures up the period through details that will strike endless chords with readers who grew up at that time … This is a suggestive, elusive novel, which achieves a magical effect by the gradual accumulation of images.’ Vogue
‘This is a terrific first novel, a meteorological force in its own right.’ Evening Standard
‘A composed and sensuous first novel.’ Financial TImes
‘A spacious and compassionate read.’ Time Out
‘What is most impressive, ultimately, is the strength and solidity of the house Greenlaw builds around the reader: every brick carefully aligned, necessary and true.’ Independent on Sunday