Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Book Review: Swallows, Amazons and Coots: A Reading of Arthur Ransome by Julian Lovelock

I got this for Christmas and finished it within 2 days. But then I am a bit of a S&A buff.

This book looks at the series of novels by Arthur Ransome about those Swallows, Amazons and Coots from a more analytical viewpoint. It goes in depth into the background, considering how Ransome's own life is revealed (or not) in the books and how it connects or differs from the society in which he lived and times during which they were written, namely 1930 to 1947.

Those years, like Ransome's life, were packed with events and historic changes. Lovelock considers  how both England (in particular, rather than Britain) and Ransome related to women and the colonies, the differences and similarities, and how that affects how we read it today.

The book is structured as one chapter for each of the 12 books, starting with Swallows and Amazons and ending with Great Northern? with diversions as themes are picked up and analysed.

I found it fascinating though I didn't always agree with Lovelock, and looking at the reviews online can see there are others that disagreed with him. I have so many thoughts jotted down that I'm going to have to post them separately on another occasion.

An interesting buy to anyone who loves the books as much as I do, and there's even a foreword by Sophie Neville - a great pleasure as always to hear from this expert on all things related to S&A.

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