Freya by Anthony Quinn - review by David Renton

David Renton

The Graduates

Freya

By

Jonathan Cape 456pp £14.99 order from our bookshop
 

Anthony Quinn’s fifth novel is a character study set in southern England between 1945 and 1962. The two protagonists, Freya Wyley and Nancy Holdaway, meet in London on VE night. By the autumn, they are studying at Oxford, Freya intending to become a journalist, Nancy to write fiction. They are entangled with three men: Nat, a self-absorbed actor; Robert Cosway, a politician; and Alex, a secretive young Scot. At Oxford, Freya treats Robert as a sexual conquest, jeopardising her relationship with Nancy, who has fallen in love with him. Over the next twenty years, the lives of Freya, Nancy and Robert repeatedly overlap in and around London. 

Those interested in recent history will relish the way in which the members of the supporting cast appear to stand in for real people: veteran journalist Jessica Vaux – described by Freya as ‘an imperious figure’ with a gaze ‘piercing as Medusa’s’ – reports on the Nuremberg Trial, just as

Sign Up to our newsletter

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

Follow Literary Review on Twitter