Read, Enjoy, Laugh, Think
Link to Amazon: From the Greenhills, Terry Melia
Reviewed January 2020 by CR
This book offers an exquisite evocation of a very specific time and place – authentic down to the last Opal Fruit and scratched vinyl record. The detail will give wry delight to anyone who remembers those days. For others it will provide a rare and immersive journey through a moment in history which is so close and yet so strangely foreign now.
I laughed out loud several times in reading this book. It has a captivating lightness of touch even when describing shocking events and decisions. But the story of struggling to grow up in a subculture whose ‘cheerful ordinary’ is effectively a war zone also offers a parable for our time. (Young politicians who write as if gangs and knife crime in inner cities represents a new and alien plague should read this book and think again. After the much greater street violence of the 70s, so compellingly evoked in this book, the UK achieved gentler times in the early years of this century, until a change in politics brought us the ‘war on the poor’ which now threatens to return us to those days).
Razor sharp on the lived realities of class politics, adolescent yearnings and the emotional mechanics of violence, this is a book to read in one sitting and then hold in the mind and ponder on. A debut novel from an author to watch. Enjoy it.
[I initially read and reviewed From the Green Hills as an e-book. It has subsequently been published as a very fine audio book, beautifully narrated by David Hunsdale. I enjoyed hearing it a second time as an audio book even more than the first time reading it.]