“An incredible, beautiful, awe-inspiring book. The prose is excellent, but the thing that makes this book so brilliant is its scope.”



So much has been said about this book since it was released oh so long ago. I bought and read it in the 1970s after seeing the film. At that time, I only used to read sci-fi and fantasy books along with a couple of sci-fi magazines. In one of the mags I remember reading an interview with Clarke in which he was not a happy bunny at all. The film was nominated for an Oscar for the make used in it, especially the apes in the opening sequences. They didn’t get the Oscar; Planet of the Apes did for their apes. Clarke didn’t actually say he was miffed by it, but you could tell he was by reading between the lines.

I really liked Vivian, shy and naive at first, she grew as the story went on. I was a little perturbed that she took a backseat through the middle of the book when Jack’s story takes over. Jack is not as strong a character on the page as Vivian, but his story is interesting and shocking and that carries him through.

The background of the Sixties is brilliantly evoked. I felt I could see and smell everything that was going on. The hairdresser’s was a masterstroke, a perfect scenario for Vivian to blossom, and the girls that worked there came across really well.

The historical aspect of the book is really interesting and Jo bloom has done her research into the horrible side of Sixties London very well. The rise of the fascists targeting the Jewish community is something that should be more widely known. I am embarrassed to say I kmew nothing about it. So well done Jo Bloom because this book is not just an immensely readable love story, it is also an important document to a troubled time.


Reviewed by:

Ron Clark

Added 11th February 2016

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Ron Clark