This Lovely City

Anansi. Apr. 2020. 400p. ISBN 9781487007058. pap. $17.95. F
DEBUT Hare’s first novel shares the experience of Jamaican immigrant Lawrie Matthews in postwar London as he tries to build a future for himself and as England tries to rebuild itself as a country. Lawrie attempts to make a respectable living as a postman by day and fulfill his passion for music by playing jazz gigs at night. Burning the candle at both ends, he also wants to start a family. He finds companionship with his neighbor Evie, though she may be keeping secrets from him. He has secrets of his own, and when he makes a gruesome discovery one day, it completely upsets their world and reveals the stories they wish they never had to tell. It also exposes the immigrant community to their new country’s harsh opinions about race, gender, and interpersonal relationships.
VERDICT A compelling read that, though set 70 years ago, has timely and identifiable themes. Romance, intrigue, and history all come together in this novel that tells a story of hope amidst struggle.

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