Lucasta Miller

Lives unlived: Light Perpetual, by Francis Spufford, reviewed

Five working-class children are killed by a V2 in south London in 1944. But what might their destinies have been?

Devastation caused by a V2 attack on London in the second world war. Credit: Getty Images

Francis Spufford was already admired as a non-fiction writer when he published his prize-winning first novel, On Golden Hill, in 2016. Set in 18th-century America, it was a tour de force of historical imagining, its prose skilfully suffused with the writerly tics of that era yet not overly so, leaving it pedantry-free and compulsively readable.

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