Writer: Miranda Emmerson
Publishing House: 4th Estate GB
Date of Publication: August 2nd 2017 (first published February 28th 2017)
Rating: 5 stars
‘’Everything can be given a price if someone chooses’, her mother said. ‘It doesn’t have to make sense to us, Anna. So little of the world makes sense.’’
Iolanthe Green, an American actress, goes missing while on a very successful series of performances in London. Unwilling to admit defeat, Anna searches London high and low to find her. Aided by Aloysius, her efforts will bring her to a path away from the capital as a journey to a troubled past and a problematic, yet hopeful, present unfolds.
‘’London seemed romantic, with its twisting parks and grime-covered frontages; its dark-stained river flanked by rictus-mouthed fish who held with their tails a trail of softly glowing lights: the epitome of grand metropolitan strangeness. It was a shifting city of light and dark; of strange shadows cast across the Thames at twilight, of grimy dark underpasses and roads which shone like sheets of metal on a summer’s day.’’
I could write pages after pages about Miranda Emmerson’s beautiful, evocative writing that revives the atmosphere of Soho during the enchanting Swinging Sixties, the capital that comes alive in front of our eyes. We witness London during the busy mornings and the colourful nights, we walk down its streets accompanied by sounds and perfumes, we experience its unique beauty, its joys and sorrows. I could talk to you about the literary and cultural references, from 60s music to the Bradley and Hindley case, in an outstanding depiction of the era. And this chronicle is seamlessly united with moving commentary on issues that continue to concern us. Racism, discrimination, mental health, social expectations. Violence and cruelty. And hope. And love.
More importantly, I could write volumes on the perfection of Anna and Aloysius’s characters. She is superb, he is unique. Their determination, their bravery, their kindness. I could see myself in Anna for various reasons and their interactions are a true literary treat. Supported by an excellent cast of characters that are the epitome of the (cliche but accurate) phrase ‘’jump right off the page’’, Anna elevates this novel into a different bookish realm. And I am not exaggerating. I am just excited and thrilled that I had the chance to read this gem.
Don’t let me tire you. Read Miranda Emmerson’s creation and I am sure that when you read the last page, you’ll wish you could turn back time to savour the novel all over again, absorbing each paragraph. I cannot wait to read A Little London Scandal.
‘’Amesbury Avenue. Hillside Road. Palace Road. The vast houses flicked by, marking time and space. There were no cars on the roads now. The living-room windows shone yellow and orange in the darkness. Here and there Anna was aware of faces pressed to the glass, watching the snow fall, watching a black man lead a white woman through the streets.’’