A World of Other People

Steven Carroll

A World of Other People
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A World of Other People

Steven Carroll

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Set in 1941 during the Blitz, A World of Other People traces the love affair of Jim, an Australian pilot in Bomber Command, and Iris, a forthright Englishwoman finding her voice as a writer.


The young couple, haunted by secrets and malign coincidence, struggles to build a future free of society’s thin-lipped disapproval. The poet T.S. Eliot, with whom Iris shares firewatching duties, unwittingly seals their fate with his poem ‘Little Gidding’, one of the famous Four Quartets.

Review

Strong and reserved, Iris is a woman living in the middle of the London Blitz. She’s good at her job, but passionless about almost everything around her. Feeling useless in the war effort, she volunteers to be a watcher on the rooftop of T.S. Eliot’s publishing house. Her first night on the job turns out to be the final evening of the Blitz and, together with Eliot and two other companions, she watches a plane fall out of the sky, afire and doomed.

Jim is an Australian pilot living in his own fatal world. He too is detached, yet four simple words from a woman he’s never met before – Are you all right? – might just be the thing to save him. So begins an affair in the middle of a war that feels like it will have no end. Every moment is precious, and Jim and Iris try to grasp onto what they can, feeling adrift in a world gone mad.

Steven Carroll crafts his characters in such a way that you experience their discomfort, feeling everything they feel, rather than just seeing what they see. Although it would be classed as historical fiction, this is more of a look at a relationship between two people, and how these things form and break in staggering detail, from a truly accomplished author.


Kate Rockstromis a Classical Specialist at Readings Carlton. She regularly performs as a flautist as well as writing about music and books, follow her at www.stonestream.net.

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