Peter Straus

The Bear’s Hug

An Unfinished Life

By

Jonathan Cape 320pp £16.99 order from our bookshop
 

AN UNFINISHED LIFE is about as well-finished a novel as you could get. Mark Spragg has fashioned out of one family's harsh vicissitudes, played out in the country around where he lives, a work which reaffirms one's belief in family and in family values. It is staggeringly good.

The book's beginning is not alluring: two septuagenarians, Mitch Bradley and Einar Gilkyson, are down on their luck, one half crippled by a bear attack some years past, the other eaten up by the bitterness of losing his son. But then we hear about

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