I’d just finished reading five novels by Patrick Hamilton (Hangover Square, The Slaves Of Solitude, and the Gorse Trilogy); a biography of Patrick Hamilton (Through a Glass Darkly: The Life of Patrick Hamilton); and a biography of Julian MacLaren-Ross (Fear and Loathing in Fitzrovia: The Bizarre Life of Julian Maclaren-Ross). Reading these books helped me to realise how much I enjoy books about London. Coincidentally Amazon recommended this book to me (and it was a book that I’d not heard of until the recommendation).
Over 700 pages long, London is unquestionably the star of the book. More specifically South London for the inhabitants of a shared house located at 10 Dulcimer Street in Kennington. The book is set in 1939-40 and evokes the era wonderfully. The second world war looms as each of the varied and memorable characters contend with their own lives and preoccupations. Their stories are variously funny, tragic, exciting, interesting, and the interweaving narratives kept me engrossed throughout.
If you enjoy well written stories about London, about Britain in the 1940s, and the vagaries of human nature, then it’s hard to imagine you wouldn’t enjoy this book. By the end I felt the characters were old friends and I wanted to continue to read about their lives. In a nutshell, I loved it and didn’t want it to end.