Monday, 24 January 2011

Book of the Week and Bibliography - Linda Grant, We had it so good

"We Had it so Good" is Linda Grant's first novel since "The Clothes on Their Backs" was shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 2008. She has a very successful record in literary prizes. There have been some very positive reviews for her new novel, and a simultaneous hardcover and paperback release, presumably with a small print run for the former. In view of this, I think that "We had it so Good" is likely to be both a good read and a good buy.

Grant was born in Liverpool in 1951, the child of Russian and Polish Jewish immigrants. Her first book, "Sexing the Millennium: A Political History of the Sexual Revolution" was published in 1993. Her first novel, "The Cast Iron Shore", published in 1996, won the David Higham First Novel Award and was shortlisted for the Guardian Fiction Prize. "Remind Me Who I am Again", an account of her mother's decline into dementia and the role that memory plays in creating family history, was published in 1998 and won the MIND/Allen Lane Book of the Year award and the Age Concern Book of the Year award. Her second novel, "When I Lived in Modern Times", set in Tel Aviv in the last years of the British Mandate, published in March 2000, won the Orange Prize for Fiction and was shortlisted for the Jewish Quarterly Prize and the Encore Prize. Her novel, "Still Here", published in 2002, was longlisted for the Booker Prize. Her non-fiction work, "The People On The Street: A Writer's View of Israel", published in 2006, won the Lettre Ulysses Prize for Literary Reportage. Her Booker Prize shortlisted novel, "The Clothes On Their Backs", was published in February 2008 and won the South Bank Show award. Her previous book, The Thoughtful Dresser was published in March 2009.

"“In 1968 Stephen Newman arrives in England from California. Sent down from Oxford, he hurriedly marries his English girlfriend Andrea to avoid returning to America and the draft board. Over the next forty years they and their friends build lives of middle-class success until the events of late middle-age and the new century force them to realise that their fortunate generation has always lived in a fool's paradise.”


Sexing the Millennium: A Political History of the Sexual Revolution HarperCollins, 1993. £15-20 in dw; relatively uncommon.

The Cast Iron Shore Picador, 1996. £5-10 in dw.

Remind Me Who I Am, Again Granta, 1998. £5-10 in dw.

When I Lived in Modern Times Granta, 2000. Around £15 in dw.

Still Here Little, Brown, 2002. £10-15 in dw.

The People on the Street: A Writer's View of Israel Virago, 2006. Paperback only – plentiful and cheap, but printings unclear from listings.

The Clothes on their Backs Virago, 2008. £30-50 in dw.

The Thoughtful Dresser Virago, 2009. Paperback only, £25-30.

We had it so good. Virago 2010. Simultaneous hardcover and paperback release.

1 comment:

NickB said...

I have recently finished reading this - it certainly is an enjoyable and perceptive novel and for those of us within the broad span of the baby-boomer generation will produce many smiles and possibly grimaces of recognition. Linda Grant is still under-recognised by collectors and her novels in the first edition currently represent sound value.