Ian Critchley

In the Sanatorium

The Dark Circle

By

Virago 364pp £16.99 order from our bookshop

Linda Grant’s latest novel has a rather grim premise. Eighteen-year-old twins Lenny and Miriam Lynskey, the children of Latvian-Jewish immigrants, are beginning to find their way in post-Second World War London. It is a place of ‘mostly grey and beige and black and mud-coloured people’, of rationing and devastation, but also one of opportunity. But then they are both diagnosed with tuberculosis and sent to a sanatorium in Kent, where in the absence of effective drugs they undergo various ‘cures’. Miriam is made to sleep outside in all weathers, while Lenny has a lung punctured in order to ‘rest’ it from the ravages of the disease. Some patients recover – more in spite of than because of the cures – but for others the diagnosis is a death sentence.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • 'Moore’s work has been so influential that the former ministers who provided him with much of his information now r… ,
    • 'Although he travels through time and space to find the best produce, his choices, delightfully, are not obvious.'… ,
    • RT : I regularly make purchases based on - it’s excellent.,
    • RT : I wrote about Yoko Ogawa's dreamlike, allegorical novel The Memory Police, newly published in English in a translat… ,
    • 'At this frankly apocalyptic moment for indigenous rights in Brazil, John Hemming’s "People of the Rainforest" is a… ,
    • 'I was dumbfounded by the view of the Berlin Wall from the eastern side. It seemed inconceivable that in under thre… ,
    • RT : Danger for ‘local’ staff, access in exchange for silence (and logos) - all sounds familiar in this fascinating look… ,