The Last of the Greenwoods

by Clare Morrall

Sunday, January 27, 2019

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I find I’m not clicking “read” on my books on Goodreads because I want to say things about them - my future self really loves it when she can remember what she actually thought of books - but my current self is really, really bad at writing things down. So anyway, I promise to try to do better. Maybe.

I discovered Clare Morrall when she was on the Booker shortlist a few years back (a quick search tells me my definition of “a few” is actually 16 and this realisation makes me realise that there are other places where I use the term “a few” where other people might use “quite a lot”). I found this one as a poor quality paperback hiding in among the mostly junk books in The Works. That’s how it goes I guess, but I liked the story as much as I liked all her other books I’ve read.

The titular Greenwoods are a pair of rather dysfunctional brothers who live in adjoining railway carriages but haven’t spoken for years, another major character is their postwoman who is also involved in restoring a steam railway. I read the book long enough ago that I don’t want to start summarising the story in case I give away too much of the plot that isn’t obvious in the beginning. I thought the characters were brilliantly drawn and it all felt perfectly English, in a very twenty-first century way. And there’s a murder mystery of sorts here too (but it’s not a mystery book). It just had so many elements that I liked and combined them in an esoteric but realistic manner.

I need to see whether I’ve missed any other of Clare Morrall’s books, or maybe whether there are any other gems lurking in The Works.