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My aim in writing “Cheshire Cheese and Camembert” was to take some of the younger characters who appeared in “Blessèd are the Meek and “Twenty-six Nil” and place them in a more modern setting, ie. the early years of the 20th century. The turbulence of the period between 1913 and 1919 made for a vibrant background: the suffragette movement, the Easter Rising in Ireland, the Russian Revolution, not to mention the Great War.

Inevitably the war had the greatest impact on families like that of my narrator, Charlie Knott, but I did not want to turn my novel into a war story. Reports of events in northern France come only from newspaper reports or more graphically from letters from Charlie’s son Alfred.

As Charlie has left Hyde for work by the docks at the eastern end of the Manchester Ship Canal, the town of Hyde is less of a feature than in the previous books. However, perhaps I should have made at least a brief mention of the sacrifice Hydonian men and women made at that time. 710 men of Hyde who gave their lives are commemorated at the cenotaph on Werneth Low, a windblown hill overlooking the town and the great pattern of distant boroughs. It is one of my favourite places in the world.

  • Writer's pictureBrent

AEIOU

Since the publication of Bailing Out – and actually starting a few months before – I have been writing a new novel about a self-absorbed man’s ambition to make a name for himself in the world of academia. Set principally in the Dordogne region of France, it is a story dealing with books and paintings and a plan to set up a gallery merging literature and art. My working title was An English Impressionist, which in documents I abbreviated to AEI.

Noticing the sequence of the initials I tried to come up with an inspiring title that would include, in order, all five vowels: An English Impressionist Offers Umbrella, An English Impressionist’s Only Uncle, An English Impressionist Obliges Upstairs and other such contrived nonsense.

I have been writing, typing and redrafting the novel throughout the winter and now it is being read by my special critics. As things stand, one thing I am happy with is the name: the book will have the simple three-word title, An English Impressionist.

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My aim in writing “Cheshire Cheese and Camembert” was to take some of the younger characters who appeared in “Blessèd are the Meek and “Twenty-six Nil” and place them in a more modern setting, ie. the

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