Reviews of Linda’s new novel, We Had It So Good have been pouring in ahead of its official publication date on Thursday (January 20th).
Here is a selection of the ones we’ve seen so far:
‘Grant is a lucid, stimulating writer and this is a deep reflection on the life span of the baby boomers. This subject could, of course, be deadly in the wrong hands, but Grant really is gifted: her prose is accessible, vivid, upbeat, sensible and constantly thought-provoking. She pays attention to big issues but never loses sight of the everyday details that define who we are. Again and again she takes the parochial and extrapolates. It is this talent that animated The Clothes on Their Backs. Grant demands that we think about the mechanisms of life: the irritating details that make us who and what we are, and what they really mean. Ultimately, it is this intensity that lifts the novel above others of its ilk.’
– Lucy Atkins, The Sunday Times
‘This is a gripping family saga stylishly told. Postwar California, Oxford and London are re-created superbly and brightly. Yet big ideas surface continually and make this much more than a readable trip down one man’s life path. Is family history a subject that you can ever really learn? What is a Jew and what is an Englishman? Is it wrong to marry someone you don’t think you will stay with for ever? Grant approaches these questions with her usual insight and subtlety and comes close to creating the perfect novel: one that never stops working to fill the reader’s mind with good and difficult things, and which takes you to beautiful and often frightening places.’
– Melissa Katsoulis, The Times
‘… her best novel so far. This is a serious, thoughtful novel that asks questions Grant has asked before, but does so in a way that perfectly matches form and content. That perfect match doesn’t make for easeful or complacent work; on the contrary, it show depth and feeling that both disturb and reassure.’
– Lesley McDowell, The Financial Times
‘Grant is never afraid to confront big ideas in her books, and this is no exception. That Grant can so vividly encapsulate the lives and times of her characters in less than 350 pages is testimony to her skill as a writer and perceptive observer of human behaviour. We Had it So Good is a portrait of a marriage and a family, and the compromises and bittersweet truths that come with age.’
– Catherine Heaney, Irish Times
‘Grant weaves in the stories of the generations on either side of the baby-boomers. Grant explores these ineluctable familial ties over four decades, suggesting that we may never really know our parents and exploring the lies parents tell and the truths their children doubt. Grant has an effortless style – no metaphor ever feels forced – and her many ideas linger with you long after you have finished reading. The novel is pleasingly unpredictable too – I never once foresaw a plot development. My only complaint? I fear I may not read a better book all year.’
– Rosamun Urwin, The Evening Standard
by Linda Grant
Born to hardworking immigrant parents in sunny suburban Los Angeles, Stephen Newman never imagined that he would spend his adult life under the grey skies of north London, would marry Andrea for convenience and stay married, and would watch his children grow into people he cannot fathom. Over forty years he and his friends have built lives of comfort and success, until the events of late middle age and the new century force them to realise that they have always existed in a fool's paradise.