In the place of fallen leaves by Tim Pears

It is the summer of 1984, one of the longest and hottest of the 20th century. Unemployment reaches record levels, the nation’s teachers are on strike, police and miners fight running battles, and time in a Devon village is apparently slipping backwards.

Reviewed by Queen Mary’s College Library reading group

This review provoked a lively discussion but the group largely found the novel unsatisfactory. Set in 1984, but it felt as if it was set much longer ago, with a feeling of a pre-war novel. Some of us liked the lyrical quality of the language, and the dreamlike atmosphere against which events were played out, but mostly we were irritated with the magic realism which seemed to infuse everything. It felt as if there were four books competing for attention in the one volume.

Star rating: ****

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Nineteen Eighty Four by George Orwell

About the book

While 1984 has come and gone, Orwell’s narrative is more timely than ever. 1984 presents a “negative utopia”, that is at once a startling and haunting vision of the world — so powerful that it’s completely convincing from start to finish. No one can deny the power of this novel, its hold on the imaginations of entire generations of readers, or the resiliency of its admonitions — a legacy that seems to grow, not lessen, with the passage of time.

Reviewed by Happy Days Reading Group:

After reading 1984, we felt that George Orwell was very forward thinking, dealt with deep political issues in a passionate manner but tended to let the political issues overtake the plot.

Star rating: ***

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