What to read this summer? Looking Down, Looking In by Tony Emerson

Are you wondering what to read next? Which book to take to the beach this summer? What to give to a friend as a special gift? Look no further. Beloved Tony Emerson, long-time Friends of Hillside committee member and our chair for five years, has published a fictionalised family saga. Many of our members have found this book super interesting. And things get even better: Tony will donate all but the first £3 of the purchase price you pay to the Friends.  The retail price is £6.99 but he will sell it to you for as little as £5.  He will also personally deliver a signed copy to you. Now that is customer service! Email Tony (tony.emerson12@btopenworld.com) to get the book that deputy chair Thomas described as “an ideal holiday read, as easy to dip in and out of’ over the summer break. Click to read more.

Looking Down, Looking In

Is a fictionalised family saga, bringing together a series of vignettes written over a period of  five years. Most of the vignettes are based on family stories, told of events that occurred
over a time span of some fifty years. Published this year by FeedARead, http://www.feedaread.com Price £6.99, ISBN 973-1-73376-221- 2

Summary (as per back cover): ‘This family saga was inspired by a 1935 photo of two brothers and their young wives, their older sister and mother. The reader embarks on a journey based on the collection and recollection of family tales liberally embellished with pure fiction, travelling from Connemara in the far west of Ireland through to Kent in the south-east of England, over the first seven decades of the twentieth century. We experience the patriotism and the bigoted nationalism of the times, the religious devotion and intolerance, the turbulence of the earlier Irish ‘Troubles’ and of World War Two. We also experience the turbulence within growing families in a challenging and changing world, plus the enduring influence of class snobbery, when prospective daughters-in-law are viewed as ‘not quite suitable’ over two generations. The writer, Tony Emerson, is a retired college lecturer and lives in Streatham in south London with his family. He takes an active interest in many aspects of life in London – local politics, his church, his local park, football and tennis clubs. Born and brought up in the west of Ireland he visits Dublin and County Galway at least once a year. He is equally passionate about Dulwich Hamlet and Galway United football clubs!’ The book was ‘work-shopped’ in the two different creative writing groups here in London that he has been a member of.

Three of many reader comments:

‘Author’s’ note appears to advise a slow read. I beg to differ. The impulse of story urges the reader on – certainly it did me. I think I also took in the context and time shifts as I went along, of course. What I suppose began as a linked sequence of short stories became a historical novel, remarkable for the preponderance of dialogue, the swiftness of movement and brevity of expression. The ultimate success of the novel lies, I think, in the lightness of touch, however keen the insight into people’s hearts’ DH, retired actor

I love the characters and the way it keeps moving along. I will share it round our writing group in Sydney, and with my elderly parents…’ MF, Australian doctor 

‘I picked it up to read this afternoon. I did what author expressly said the reader should not do. I read it from cover to cover almost without stopping. I became engrossed in the story straight away. I felt I really knew these people and I wanted to know what happened to them. In short I loved it and I congratulate the writer on the economy of style tempered by the warmth of  characterisation and the flow of the story. Such a generous and understanding pen he has’ PD retired senior civil servant

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