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 stop and take a close look
at It's All Right Now.
Tom Ripple is an emotionally stunted, intellectually incurious man who is an insignificant cog in a not particularly important company; he lives in a nondescript part of North London and for all the world looks like the last person one would wish to spend 30 years and 670 pages with.
However, as Tom observes his life from early parenthood to retirement, giving often painful and unflattering accounts of his inner and outer life we can start to see why he is the person he is and why he subsists on a diet of intellectual chewing gum (paperback thrillers, action movies and the like) and slowly, slowly one finds oneself caring for poor old grey Tom Ripple and even starting to think of him as something of an everyman hero for simply having the staying power to get through his life. As Ripple eventually concludes, it is "the basic experiences [of life], the ordinary moments of affection and beauty and common kindness that are infinitely precious."
'Nothing much happens, but it does so with a
world-weary elegance, full of wintry
discontent. Mature, knowing and very well
done.' - Kirkus Reviews.
"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." - Publishers Weekly.
This review was originally published in August 2005, and has been updated for the July 2006 paperback release. Click here to go to this issue.
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