Review by Lindsay Robertson
This is an outstanding tale of people in incredibly difficult conditions. The author creates his characters in such a believable manner that the reader is transported into their lives and emotions rather than their location alone. This is no fairy tale and as the story unfolds the characters are further developed by circumstances beyond their control.
The faults and foibles of the primary characters are visible for all to see and the cultural divides prevalent at the time are prominently exposed. The parody of the coloured performers being accepted as entertainers while their young children are unwanted and marginalised exposes the blatant racism that they endured
I rate this book at 7 ½ and may even increase this after review.
Review by Steve Reilly
I really liked this book. I found I looked forward to getting back to it; that’s a good sign for me. Even with the plot opening looking suspiciously like the usual love triangle, I was still interested. But the story line turned out to be far more engaging than the usual shallow love triangle. The dialog was excellent; by far the best I’ve read for some time. Each character had their own voice; often difficult for a writer to achieve. The banter between the two soldier friends was particularly delightful and totally fresh. I really cared about all the central characters. Chris Cleave’s depiction of the ‘casual’ racism of the times was enlightening. The story had a gradually heightening depth and intensity to it. I was put in mind of looking at a painting, from left to right, and seeing the canvas change from brightness and light to darker and more menacing tones and images as the eyes travel. This work should make a great movie. An excellent read and I had no hesitation in plonking a 9 on the table and resolving to look for more Chris Cleave books.
However, when I searched Amazon for Kindle I realised the book group has already done a Chris Cleave book back in December of 2013. It was called “The Other Hand” and I hated it – gave it a 1 (and that was for the binding).