Six testimonies from three generations, covering five decades of industrial decline in a fictionalised steel town, are intermeshed in this realistic portrayal of how the old solidarity of working class communities is undermined by so-called 'regeneration' and brutalist social housing in sink estates. The narrative style of social realism is redolent with distinct authentic voices and northern gallows humour. An amazing debut and a joy to read.
Mrs Terry leans forward in her chair. 'Rachel, shall I tell you about my last holiday?'
Rachel has obviously forgotten about the old woman in the corner. 'Err... of course. Where did you...?
... 'Blackpool. Have you ever journeyed?'
'I can't say I have. Is it nice?'
'Back in the 70s the sea was like unsieved gravy. I went with Colin.
'Colin's your husband?'
'Was. He's dead now. Heart attack...
Our hotel was called the Sea View, but all you could see out our window was the bins.'
Rachel's smile is strained. 'Still, you never spend much time in the room, do you?'
'True,' Mrs Terry says. 'In his case, he was mostly in the bar.'
'Well that can ... be fun too,' Rachel replies.
Mrs Terry coughs into her hanky. 'What's your husband's name?'
'Say that after you wake up to Eric relieving himself in the bedside drawer.'