Sunday, 4 April 2010

Chatterton Square (Young) 242

"Chatterton square belied its name. It was really an oblong, and at that, it was unfinished, for one of its longer sides was open to the road, which, rising a little, led southwards to the Green and northwards, dipping a little, to the short curving holl on to to the Downs. What gardens the houses possessed were at the back; in compensation, the inhabitants of the Square were free to use a railed oval of grass fringed with had seen better most of the houses were in need of paint and, though there were no printed cards in the windows advertising lodgings to be let, the shabby young clerks who blossomed out into bright sports clothes at the weekends and the old ladies with over-trimmed hats who took their slow daily walks were certainly not householders. Fashion and prosperity had deserted this corner of the village"

In Chatterton Square, EH Young takes us again to the village of Upper Radstowe. We meet Mr Blackett who lives with his wife and three daughters in the square, who finds his life disrupted when the Fraser family move in next door. The Fraser family are slightly unconventional; Rosamund the mother, runs the household, being separated from her husband, and tends to leave her children to get on with things themselves. This is very different from Mr Blackett's controlling approach.

There isn't much plot to the book, it's more of a book about the interaction between the families who live in the square. Overhanging the story however, is the threat of the Second World War, and this permeates the characters' existence, which I found interesting. At the end of the book it is not clear what will happen to them in the coming years.

It's just been published the once by Virago, with an original green cover, although I borrowed a Jonathan Cape edition. 3*.

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