Thomas Marks

Thomas Marks on First Novels

  • Jennie Rooney, 
  • Georges-Marc Benamou, 
  • Andrew Davidson, 
  • Mark Sarvas

As the Second World War recedes from living memory, it has become a prominent subject for novelists interested in the complex relationship between forms of fiction and ways of remembering. In Ian McEwan’s Atonement, Briony Tallis reshapes her wartime experiences into a fragile romance that disintegrates as soon as she acknowledges that she is trying to repair the past before her memory fails her. How should novels remember what age distorts and erases? This month, two first novels turn back to the war from the fading perspectives of the elderly. Jennie Rooney’s moving debut, Inside the Whale, recounts the war-torn love of two pensioners, Michael and Stevie, as they come to terms with the end of their affair despite sixty years apart. 

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

    • 'It would be nice to think that women will achieve equal pay in my lifetime, rather than to watch gloomily as stati… ,
    • In 1660, two of the signatories of King Charles I's death warrant fled across the Atlantic to New England. But were… ,
    • Howard Jacobson's sixteenth novel is 'a love story of sorts, one characterised not by physical desire or even conta… ,
    • 'The sudden immersion in the new and unfamiliar can lead people to write with a rare lack of self-consciousness' P… ,
    • 'Pools bend the rules. Clothes slip off, skin glistens, consciousness heightens. A dreamlike scenario unfolds' Jam… ,
    • 'Although he surely didn’t know W H Auden’s theory that every high C proclaims human freedom and our capacity to tr… ,
    • RT : With beginning tomorrow, we've uncovered a 1997 article from the archive reviewing 'Golf Dream… ,