Gill Hornby

Bright Beginings

South of the River

By

Chatto & Windus 528pp £17.99 order from our bookshop

The common fox may only have a walk-on part in Blake Morrison’s new novel, but it does walk on rather often. The urban, the rural, the fictional, the mythical and the terrifying – the fox in all its different guises is the sniffing, menacing leitmotif of this fictional exploration of the social impact of the Blair years.

The action of South of the River actually takes place south of two rivers: the Thames, of course, in that area to be transformed by a dome, a railway and shedloads of city cash; and the sleepier Waveney, on the Suffolk/Norfolk border, where the deep-set traditions of country life are suddenly under threat. The five main characters are all of varying gender, colour and class, but they are connected by both the social web and their regular brushes with a fox.

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