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Unexploded

by Alison MacLeod

Forget about the comical bunglers of 'Dad’s Army' - this detailed evocation of wartime Brighton, preparing for German invasion, is the setting for an acerbic antidote to the plucky patriotism often trundled out in novels about the Home Front. Instead, this account of the prevailing paranoia, xenophobia and anti-semitism in certain classes of British society is at times shocking and challenging to some romanticised views of this period.

Extract

Her mother was fond of saying that, if she were a Jew, she would have left for America ages ago. What her mother was actually saying was that all Jews, including those born in England, should do the decent thing and find a country that didn't mind foreigners. Evelyn's father, if still alive, wouldn't have disguised his meaning. Hypocrisy was one of the few faults of which no one could accuse him.
In the end, mercifully, the power of speech was denied him, and his illness drained him of the energy his numerous hatreds needed to sustain themselves.

Parallels

A Month in the Country by E L Carr
I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
 

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