Gill Hornby

Little Lawrence

When We Were Romans


Picador 296pp £16.99 order from our bookshop

Lawrence, the protagonist of Matthew Kneale’s new novel, is a charming seven-year-old. He is alert and interested in the sort of things we like little boys to be interested in – ancient Romans, soldiers, astronomy. He natters on, in his perky, off-beat first-person voice, about everything from his own domestic details to the biography of Caligula and the unpredictable behaviour of black holes – while his own little world is falling spectacularly apart. He is the literary first cousin of Roddy Doyle’s Paddy Clarke.

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