Summary and book reviews of It's All Right Now by Charles Chadwick

It's All Right Now

By Charles Chadwick

It's All Right Now
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  • Hardcover: May 2005,
    667 pages.
    Paperback: Jul 2006,
    704 pages.

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Book Summary

Meet Tom Ripple, a man with an uncommon outlook on his common life. At home in a North London suburb, Ripple keeps close tabs on his neighbors while his own family splinters apart. As the years pass by he forges on, bravely and awkwardly, in his relationships with his wife and children, his parents, girlfriends, colleagues, and friends, and in his ongoing search for certainties, both moral and practical.

But what he gains in wisdom over time, he loses in love, as his marriage disintegrates and his children grow further away from him. The more he lives and the more he learns, the less he understands.

Through the vividness of his voice and his growing sense of the sorrow and absurdity of the world, Tom Ripple becomes an unusually appealing anti-hero, aware of his ordinariness and the limits of his intelligence, with a ribald sense of humor, and a clumsiness in his attempts at emotional connection with others. He is a bewildered everyman navigating his way through modern times.

In this remarkable debut novel, Charles Chadwick has created one of the most memorable, brilliantly realized characters in contemporary fiction. By turns poignant, funny, heartbreaking, and profound, It's All Right Now is a towering achievement and a singular work of the imagination.

Chapter One

For a while the houses on either side of us were empty. Then at about the same time the 'For Sale' signs were taken away and people moved into them. We live in a (just) detached house in between, which I've come to assume, perhaps my wife has too, we'll be living in for the rest of our lives . . . Well, one has to begin somewhere, on any old scrap of paper. I'm not sure what the point of it is. We shall have to see. It may take quite a time.

Webb, our neighbour on one side, suffers from too much curiosity but it lacks malice, I'm sure. On our other side live a man called Hamble and his wife who display in their demeanour a constant long-suffering which I suspect in each other's company alone they find something of a strain. Webb is married too. His wife is hunched, wan and bespectacled and seems to keep out of the way as if in her time she has been too much the object...

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Introduction

Tom Ripple is a man seemingly committed to nothing except bad puns and lust. In It's All Right Now, Ripple reveals the story of his life from the 1970s through the present day. He begins with his quiet marriage and family life in the suburbs of north London and his steady rise in the business world (which comes to include a great deal of traveling and philandering) to a new period as a divorced churchgoing country gentleman in Suffolk, then covers his time at a modest flat in London where he becomes profoundly and strangely connected to the residents of his building, and finally his retirement in a quiet coastal town.

A provocative examination of the everyday by a remarkable new everyman, It's All ...
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Reviews

BookBrowse

If you expect intense action in your reading matter then it would be best if you moved swiftly past It's All Right Now. However, if you've enjoyed the subtle pleasures of books such as William Boyd's Any Human Heart or John Lanchester's Mr Phillips, then you should take a close look at this one.   (Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).

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Media Reviews
The Washington Post - Adam Mazmanian

the writing assumes a richness and even occasional majesty that it thoroughly lacks in the early pages....

Publishers Weekly

The most remarkable thing about this extraordinary debut novel is not that the author is 72 years old; it is in the risks Chadwick, a retired civil servant, takes and brings off with astute craftsmanship and touching sincerity.

Kirkus Reviews

Nothing much happens, but it does so with a world-weary elegance, full of wintry discontent. Mature, knowing and very well done.

Booklist - Joanne Wilkinson

Starred Review. This first novel written by a 72-year-old British civil servant has garnered a good deal of prepress publicity because of its author's age and the fact that it sold for six figures. The real attraction of this moving novel, however, is the purity of its vision.

Author Blurb Jonathan Safran Foer
This novel is huge -- in size, ambition, intelligence, and heart.

Reader Reviews
Bob

It's all right now
What a wonderful, moving book this is. It is definitely worth buying. My friends and I all loved it.

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This first novel by 72-year-old retired civil servant Charles Chadwick caused quite a ripple pre-publication as much for the age of the author as for the book itself.  It's All Right Now is Chadwick's fifth novel but his first to be published (he received nothing but rejection slips for the others).  When Chadwick received the news that his novel had received advances worth several hundred thousand dollars he said "I am utterly astonished - The phrase 'beyond my wildest dreams' has now taken on ...

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