There are all the joys of Ken Champion’s writing here – a vivid depiction of time and place created with painterly skill, telling humour and characters both bound by and railing against society’s expectations. This is a world rich and busy with the banter, camaraderie and cruelty of daily life, with painful truths beneath. At its heart is the story of Ben, coming of age in the East End of the fifties, whose encounter with the adventurous, liberated Beat Years is merely glanced in the pages of Kerouac’s On The Road.
His struggle to move beyond the grey predictability and stifling life mapped out for him is shown through his drifting friendship with Johnny who shares his urge to escape and the desire to explore beyond the limits of what’s expected. But both learn that freedom isn’t so easy; chances glide past, becoming the roads not travelled as Ben’s life is defined by the choices he makes.
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