My Wednesday guest is Clive from
Publisher – Alma Books LTD
Pages – 288
Release Date – 15th April 2015
ISBN-13 – 978-1846883576
Available in ebook, paperback and hardcover formats
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review
England, 1950s. While out playing in the woods, ten-year-old Mark meets a man living in an old railway carriage. Despite his wild appearance, the stranger, who introduces himself as Aubrey Hillyard, is captivating – an irreverent outsider who is shunned by Mark’s fellow villagers, and a writer to boot.
Aubrey encourages Mark to tell stories about his own make-believe world, and in return he informs the boy about a novel he is writing – a work of ominous science fiction. As the meddling villagers plot to drive Aubrey out, Mark finds himself caught between two worlds – yet convinced that he must help Aubrey prevail at any cost.
In simple terms this is the best book that I have read for months. It is full of nostalgia for those that remember village childhood in the fifties. It describes a time when children of ten could roam the streets and fields in apparent safety and when wealthy spinsters would invite polite village children to read to them.
James Wilson is an experienced author and it shows. The writing is high in quality and his use of the present tense really gave me a full sense of the period, the surroundings and the drama.
The book is written in the third person but the story is seen totally from the perspective of our ten year old hero Mark. This helps to add to the mystery by leaving unanswered many questions relating to the associated characters. What was behind his father’s mood swings, what was Aubrey’s real background and where did Mum keep disappearing to? Unless Mark finds the answers you will never know.
The storyline is very much an adventure about children and I can see no reason why a child should not read the book; there is no sex, violence or bad language. That said I suspect that James had a mature generation in mind when he wrote it because for me the real joy of this book was soaking in the fifties lifestyle especially cap guns, children’s comics and knotting a handkerchief as a reminder.
Congratulations James, The Summer of Broken Stories deserves nothing less than five very bold stars.
Book reviewed by Clive
James Wilson was born and brought up near Cambridge, and studied History at Oxford University. He now divides his time between London and France.
In 1975 James received a Ford Foundation grant to research and write The Original Americans: US Indians, for the Minority Rights in London. Over the next twenty-five years he travelled widely in the US and Canada, working on – among other projects – a number of radio and TV documentaries, including the award-winning Savagery and the American Indian and The Two Worlds of the Innu, both for the BBC.
His critically-acclaimed history of Native Americans, The Earth Shall Weep, was published by Picador in the UK in 1998, and by Grove/Atlantic in the US the following year. In 2000, it won a Myers Outstanding Book award. James continues to serve as a member of the executive committee of Survival, an international organisation campaigning for the rights of indigenous peoples worldwide.
You can read more about James on The Writing Life of: James WilsonAuthor Links