Birmingham, England, c. 1973: industrial strikes, bad pop music, corrosive class warfare, adolescent angst, IRA bombings. Four friends: a class clown who stoops very low for a laugh; a confused artist enthralled by guitar rock; an earnest radical with socialist leanings; and a quiet dreamer obsessed with poetry, God, and the prettiest girl in school. As the world appears to self-destruct around them, they hold together to navigate the choppy waters of a decidedly ambiguous decade.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
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|Title of Family & Relationships eBook: The Rotters' Club|
|Release Date: 12-18-2007|
|Allowed Countries (hover)|
|Publisher: Knopf Publishing Group|
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The Rotters' Club
November the 15th, 1973. A Thursday evening, drizzle whispering against the window-panes, and the family gathered in the living room. All except Colin, who is out on business, and has told his wife and children not to wait up. Weak light from a pair of wrought-iron standard lamps. The coal-effect fire hisses.
Sheila Trotter is reading the Daily Mail: "'˜To have and to hold, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health–"these are the promises which do in fact sustain most married couples through the bad patches."
Lois is reading Sounds: "Guy, 18, cat lover, seeks London chick, into Sabbath. Only Freaks please."
Paul, precociously, is reading Watership Down: "Simple African villagers, who have never left their remote homes, may not be particularly surprised by their first sight of an aeroplane: it is outside their comprehension."
As for Benjamin . . . I suppose he is doing his homework at the dining table. The frown of concentration, the slightly protruding tongue (a family trait, of course: I've seen my mother look the same way, crouched over her laptop). History, probably. Or maybe physics. Something which doesn't come easily, at any rate. He looks across at the clock on the mantelpiece. The organized type, he has set himself a deadline. He has ten minutes to go. Ten more minutes in which to write up the experiment.
I'm doing my best, Patrick. Really I am. But it's not an easy one to tell, the story of my family. Uncle Benjamin's story, if you like.
I'm not even sure this is the right place to start. But perhaps one place is as good as any other. And this is the one I've chosen. Mid...