A succs de scandale when it was published in England in 1963, Up the Junction is a high-voltage, gorgeously visceral collection of portraits of working-class women's lives, finally restored to print.. Nell Dunn's scenes of London life, as it was lived in the early Sixties in the industrial slums of Battersea, have few parallels in contemporary writing. The exuberant, uninhibited, disparate world she found in the tired old streets and under the railway arches is recaptured in these closely linked sketches; and the result is pure alchemy. In the space of 120 perfect pages, we witness clip-joint hustles, petty thieving, candid sexual encounters, casual birth and casual death. She has a superb gift for capturing colloquial speech and the characters observed in these pages convey that caustic, ironic, and compassionate feeling for life, in which a turn of phrase frequently contains startling flashes of poetry. Battersea, that teeming wasteland of brick south of the Thames, has found its poet in Nell Dunn and Up the Junction is her touchingly truthful and timeless testimonial to it.
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(202mm x 127mm x 8mm)
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US Kirkus Review »
"Keep never minding. It's only for life." Life as it is in London's Battersea - in the juke box clubs, laundries, lavatories, workshops, clip joints; youngsters (they're married by the time they're sixteen - it's usually obligatory) in cheap serge suits, leather jackets, jeans; girls in beehives, plastic curlers; and all making out, or talking about it, in deserted houses, bomb sites, vans.... These three or four or five page sketches of life are seen through old-young eyes or spoken in a sassy, scrappy vernacular. They have considerably more authority than one would suspect since the slice of life is only snack-sized. The random violence, the short-lived pleasures, the restlessness, the hopelessness, it's all caught here in a series of casual impressions which could not be more insistent.... It's a small book, easy to lose, hard to place; but the talent is there. (Kirkus Reviews)
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