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London in the aftermath of war: children run wild on East End bombsites, while their elders strive for better lives in a country beggared by victory. Clarence and Bernadette Malcolm have come five thousand miles in search of prosperity, but find the Mother Country not at all as has been promised them; Solly and Dora Lazarus, too, are strangers in a strange land, struggling to belong even as they try to make sense of their past; and Michael and Mary Lockhart take with both hands all that the world owes them, wherever it leads them, whatever the cost. In the street markets and tenements of Bethnal Green the three families live and work together in uneasy harmony, until Michael shatters the balance between them, his hunger for betterment changing the courses of all their lives over decades and generations. Reaching across forty years and capturing a city and a people in a time of tumultuous change, What Was Promised is a breathtaking novel by a master storyteller.
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Promotional Information

Three decades. Three families. One city. What Was Promised is a beautiful, powerful, multi-layered novel of London and its children, of roots and belonging, and of the collisions that can pull us together and spin us apart

About the Author

Tobias Hill was born in London. In 2003 the TLS nominated him as one the best young writers in Britain. In 2004 he was selected as one of the country's Next Generation poets and shortlisted for the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year. His collection of stories, Skin, won the Pen-Macmillan Prize for Fiction and was shortlisted for the John Llewellyn Rhys/Mail on Sunday Prize. What Was Promised is his fifth novel. www.tobiashill.com

Reviews

What Was Promised vibrates with the polyphonic sounds of London in the aftermath of the war, carrying the reader through the hopes and needs of ensuing generations. Hill writes with magnificent poise, seducing us through the prism of lives in the book with his buoyant, mischievous prose * Nikita Lalwani * Beginning after the Second World War and ending 40 years on, this is a portrait of London and its citizens: grubby, thieving, vibrant, drawn from many continents and rendered poetic by Hill's prose * Vogue * Hill's writing has a stunning economy and control * The Times * Mr Hill's book has many strengths. First is the depiction of London itself ... Second is the dialogue, such as the louche fashion photographer telling a woman she's a "knockout" ... Third is a male writer's impressive depiction of female experience ... He deserves high praise * Economist * Hill has created a dazzling and deeply affecting portrait of a city struggling back to prosperity and of the resilience of its people. It is a novel that questions the idea of home, and what it means to belong, and should secure Hill's reputation as one of the outstanding writers of his generation * Observer * Hill's language is simple enough that its beauties serve character or place rather than interfering with them ... Such is his lightness of touch that it would be easy not to notice how tightly constructed the novel's plot is ... The poet's gifts are matched here by the novelist's: the result is absorbing as well as elegant * Sunday Times * From the first sentence Tobias Hill commands the reader's attention and we are not released for the rest of the book ... A superb read; its true power lies in Hill's poetic prose ... As Hill shows in the book, life rarely delivers what it promises; this novel, on the other hand, delivers a lot more * Sunday Herald * Beautifully written and ultimately gripping, as anyone who knows his work would expect * Kamila Shamsie, Guardian Summer Review *

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