Summer Things by Joseph Connolly - review by Christopher Hart

Christopher Hart

Not Much Comfort

Summer Things


Faber & Faber 371pp £9.99 order from our bookshop

Joseph Connolly’s latest novel focuses on – a disparate group of people staying at an English seaside resort for their summer holiday. They range from the unlikeable to the odious. There are several couples: wealthy Elizabeth and Howard; impoverished Dotty and Brian; Lulu and her madly jealous husband John – all occupying different places on the socioeconomic ladder, and furiously competing with each other for whatever advancements in status their tiny bourgeois minds can dream up. There are also one or two singles to complicate things: sexy single mum Melody; and top salesman and all-round shit-of-the-year Miles McInerney. The plot, an entertaining trawl through the worst behaviour of the English middle classes (somehow magnified at a seaside resort), is a fairly rudimentary construct, on which the author hangs these puppets and then takes cruel but accurate pot-shots at them.

Out of a cast of a dozen or so characters, it is unlikely that the reader will warm to any but the two adolescents, Colin and Carol, who are still just young enough to retain their innocence and candour in a corrupted adult world. For them, status means nothing and

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