A serious yet entertaining book where the past reverberates against the present, with themes of personal and political loyalty and grudging compromises. This is a powerful, raging novel with a distinctive style and unusual use of dialogue where the characters answer questions that weren’t asked and ignore the ones that were. Full of tragi-comic interaction that inspires an intense reaction from the reader.
Morgan watched as Howard set off down the path, head lowered, elbows working, the pack riding up and down at each stride. On his left, the river slid by with the oily fullness of high tide, just on the turn. After a couple of hundred metres, Howard turned and jogged back.
'And the slogans!' Morgan said. Howard glanced sideways at him, jogging on the spot, lifting his knees to waist height. 'The people, united, will never be defeated!' I haven’t heard those words for thirty years. They come at you out of some deep fold in the brain.'
'Socialist revolution,' Howard said. 'Whatever happened to that?' He nodded, smiling to himself. 'I’ll just go to where the river bends,' he said. 'By the bench there, do you see, by the litter-bins?'
'What have you got in the bag, Howard?' Morgan called after him. 'Why do you run with all that weight on your back?'
The breeze rattled a shower of yesterday’s rain out of a tree as he passed under it.
'In order to overcome it,' Howard said on his way back, his breath coming in short gasps.