WITHOUT A CITY WALL by Melvyn Bragg

WITHOUT A CITY WALL

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Richard Godwin, subscribing to the urbanite's myth-taken idea that eternal verities lost to sight in the subway crush turn up in easy hailing distance on the edge of a moor, takes refuge from London in an isolated Cumberland village. At first, it seems that the absence of electricity promotes the presence of simple virtues. Godwin and Janice Beattie, the girl from the cottage next door, fall in love and marry--happily, but not for long. She had dropped out of college to come home unwed and give birth to an unwanted child without any diminishing of her desire to live freely, fully and unfettered by emotional dependents. Godwin, the attractive stranger, unwittingly upsets the dream of Edwin, a local boy hauling himself up from a squalid heritage and away from his vicious, drunken mother. Edwin had wanted Janice and in Edwin's driven frantic work and worry pace, Godwin begins to recognize that it can happen outside London, that the sturdy goodness of Janice's mother is as vulnerable to disappointment, that the evil in Edwin's mother is just as self-starting in a country setting. The author accomplishes his unobtrusive commentary on the futility of expecting inner peace to arrive from environment through the traditional novel's greatest attraction: a well told story of people whose proximity allows them to affect--intentionally and unintentionally-the course of each others lives.

Pub Date: May 1st, 1969
Publisher: Knopf