At the heart of John Lucas’s new novel is the unfolding story of a marriage. Dan Townsend and Jean Kelly are brought together by chance. He is the son of a tradesman living in early twentieth-century Torquay, she is the daughter of a London-based junior school headteacher. The happiness of their love affair and marriage is, however, soon disrupted, first by the depression years and then by the Second World War, which at its conclusion leaves the newly demobbed Dan once more struggling to find employment. The Life in Us is about ordinary people learning how to cope in extraordinary times. Though neither comedy nor tragedy, the novel touches on elements of both as it follows the couple through the buffetings of their married life into old age, one that brings them back to Devon where, fifty years earlier, they had met and fallen in love.
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