The cuban missile crisis

In the dark early 1960s, at least we had the Beatles

‘These things start on my birthday – like the Warsaw Uprising – and spoil my day,’ wrote the understandably self-pitying Barking housewife Pat Scott in her diary on the first day of the Cuban Missile Crisis in October 1962. ‘And then to spoil it more, Ted [her husband] took his driving test for the second time and failed.’ It is clashes like these, of the personal and humdrum against the political and global, that make David Kynaston’s close surveys of Britain in the second half of the 20th century such fascinating and lively documents. Yes, the world might be about to end, but that was no excuse to spoil Pat’s

A panoramic novel of modern Britain: The Blind Light, by Stuart Evers, reviewed

A decade ago — eheu fugaces labuntur anni — Stuart Evers’s debut story collection, Ten Stories About Smoking, was one of the first books I ever reviewed, and I’ve kept tabs on his career ever since, in that spirit of comradely competitiveness one feels for a writer of a similar age launching at the same time. I spoke warmly of his first novel If This Is Home and enjoyed his second collection, Your Father Sends His Love, when it appeared in 2015. But there was nothing in those earlier works to prepare me for the scale and ambition of The Blind Light. This extraordinary novel about Britain and Britishness spans