Crossing the Lines

Melvyn Bragg, Author . Arcade $26 (490p) ISBN 978-1-55970-738-1

Bragg's massive trilogy of his hometown in Cumbria, northern England, steers to a close as the torch is passed from WWII hero Sam Richardson to his son Joe. In 1955, Wigton is a quiet town, animated by hard work, gossip and changes of weather. Joe spends his days in school, nights working in his parents' pub and most of his free time thinking about his neighbor Lizzie. When Lizzie is sexually assaulted by some local roughnecks, the men are brutally beaten, and Lizzie is shipped off to be cared for by Liverpool relatives. As Joe grows older, his choices become starker; as he grows serious with a schoolmate named Rachel, opportunity knocks in the form of Oxford. Bragg has returned to the subject of Wigton many times over his long career as a novelist and BBC commentator, and his deep affection and knowledge of the place give strength to this coming-of-age story. As in The Soldier's Return and A Son of War , Bragg's prose is straightforward and unadorned, allowing only the occasional literary flourish, with a tendency toward understatement that is as precise as it is convincing. Devoted Anglophiles in particular will find much to appreciate in this unhurried examination of postwar English life. (Sept.)

Reviewed on: 08/01/2005
Release date: 07/01/2005
Genre: Fiction
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-7540-8461-7
Paperback - 496 pages - 978-1-61145-373-7
Ebook - 296 pages - 978-1-62872-275-8
Paperback - 496 pages - 978-0-340-82967-7
Hardcover - 496 pages - 978-0-340-82968-4
Hardcover - 490 pages - 978-0-340-82965-3
Paperback - 490 pages - 978-1-61145-346-1
MP3 CD - 978-1-5318-7317-2
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