A Corner of Paradise: A love story (with the usual reservations) by Brian Thompson
|A Corner of Paradise: A love story (with the usual reservations) by Brian Thompson|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: Sublime, elegant writing and a story to make you laugh and cry. Highly recommended.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 224||Date: July 2014|
In the early seventies Brian Thompson met Elizabeth North, both of them part of failing marriages which would have died without any intervention on their parts. They became friends, they fell in love but they never felt the need to marry and would be together until Liz's death in 2010 at the age of seventy eight. Both are authors - Thompson would maintain that North was the better writer - and North would perhaps have said that she should have made that clear. A Corner of Paradise tells the story - not of the homes they lived in - but of the joy of their relationship.
They came from opposite ends of the social spectrum: she was an admiral's daughter, he the son of decidedly working class, Cockney parents who were most charitably described as eccentric. She had four children, some of whom tolerated Thompson more than others - or were less open about their feelings. He had three children. North was solitary and independent whilst Thompson was loud and decidedly the more needy half of the relationship. But somehow it all worked and it was their paradise.
The book is a love letter (with the the usual reservations as North would have said) made up of a mosaic of reminiscences, anecdotes and stories of their homes, from the terraced house in Harrogate, via Leeds and an unlovely French farmhouse to Oxford, where Thompson still lives. The places spring from the page but there's a real talent for bringing characters to life with just a few words. Liz's brother described a French farmer who took over a job that he had been doing with Thompson as being good in practice but not strong on the theory. Do you need to know any more about either of them?
I loved the writing. It's self-deprecating, revealing and with a very dry wit. I laughed on many occasions and I cried when Liz North died. It was quite unbearable. But at the end of it all I couldn't help but think that they had been extraordinarily lucky to find each other. I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.
If you've not read anything by Thompson we can recommend the quite sublime Keeping Mum.
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You can read more book reviews or buy A Corner of Paradise: A love story (with the usual reservations) by Brian Thompson at Amazon.com.
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