‘We hate poetry that has a palpable design upon on us,’ wrote Keats, and the same could be said about novels that tackle the big questions of our day. Will the characters be too on-message? Will the author lecture us? Maggie Gee’s novels show this doesn’t have to be the case. Although contemporary issues abound in her fiction, her characters are disobediently individual and a certain festive, anarchical spirit presides.
In Blood, her latest, Brexit and jihadism get anecdotal airings and male violence is under the spotlight, but the real business of this novel is family. Can children escape their upbringings? Will a violent parent breed a violent child? Distantly, we hear the echo of Greek tragedy.
The family in question