Amanda Hodgkinson || 22 Brittania Road

22 Brittania Road had ended up at the end of the line on my e-reader, almost causing me to forget the novel. Had I forgotten it, I would not have read a rather nice novel. In 22 Brittania Road Hodgkinson tells the tale of a Polish couple starting a new life in Ipswich just after WW2. What happens to them is too predictable, thereby making the novel too predictable, unremarkable. Hodgkinson writes beautifully; I especially enjoyed the descriptions of the Polish landscape and Silvana surviving in a forest in the harsh winter. I could have predicted with almost a 100% certainty though what secrets Silvana and Janus were hiding from each other and what marital problems they would encounter. Two things I did not foresee however. When Silvana and Janus separate, he plods down their beautiful English garden and replants it with young birches, the trees of their Polish childhood. A few days after having planted this small forest he receives a post card from Aurek who, hardly knowing how to write, has struggled secretly to put down his father’s name and address. Once again I could predict what Janus was about to do on receiving this message from his young son. Hodgkinson mentions some topics touching upon the lifes of Silvana and Janus: the suspicion of the British towards their new countrymen or sleeping with the enemy for life, food and clothes. It is too unobtrusive however to leave a firm and lasting impression. 22 Brittania Road is a pleasant novel, not a great one.

Brittania

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About booksandliliane

I am an avid reader and love to share my love for literature. I have my own opinion on books that have been shortlisted, laureated by critics or are pushed on us by bookstores. I will try and explain why I like or do not like a book. Hopefully influencing you in your choice of books to read.
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2 Responses to Amanda Hodgkinson || 22 Brittania Road

  1. Col says:

    I’ve seen this book so many times and always been intrigued by it – something about that cover. But never quite decided to buy it. Sounds like it would be enjoyable rather than great. Struck by some of the things in your review about British attitudes to migrants post World War 2 – sadly there is still a lot of that fear and suspicion today. Some things change slowly I guess.

    • I agree, some things change slowly. In my country migrants are on the one hand fully accepted and on the other one still looked upon suspiciously. Someone like Geert Wilders advocates hate which does not help at all.

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