Posted 20 hours ago

Kingdom by the Sea (Essential Modern Classics) (Collins Modern Classics)

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It was both interesting and often humorous to hear what Paul thought of various places within the UK, its people included. First, this means he avoids major British cities, including London, Newcastle, Manchester, Oxbridge, etc.

The little beach inside the harbour mouth, that didn’t have to be fenced off with barbed wire because it was under the direct protection of the Castle guns. I hope that if he repeated his journey today he would find that things had changed since the 1980s and cycling would be considered viable. The mood by the end is decidedly upbeat - and then Westall decides to bring it all crashing down with a heartbreakingly uncomprimising ending. I thought that I was getting Paul Theroux’s book with the same name, but no, it was a child’s book by an award-winning author.Anxious that he will be sent to live with his fussy Cousin Elsie he goes on the run across the war-battered land of North East England, his only friend in his journey a stray dog that he meets on the beach. And Mam’s precious attaché case with the flask of hot coffee and insurance policies and other important things, and the little bottle of brandy for emergencies. Theroux's departures from resorts (to Liverpool, Belfast, Ulster) are among the most interesting parts of the book. Which happens *literally* on his way back from Lindisfarne (where he has a bad run-in with local kids and, in the absolute cold blood of necessity, deliberately and consciously breaks a kid’s ankle), when Harry’s caught by the tide, soaked to the skin, and ends up spending the night in a refuge tower in the middle of the flooded causeway.

Theroux also casually throws in the phrase that he didn't want to get "duffled," a phrase he himself coined in the Railway Bazaar. this has always been my favorite of Robert Westall's books, but I didn't appreciate it in as much *wholeness*, reading on and off and knowing what was coming, as I did the first time I read it. His favourite spot is the remotest corner of Scotland where the sight of sheep stranded on a deserted beach sandbank as the tide comes in,leaving them to drown, warms the cockles of his heart.I read to my class as I had the only book - this allowed me to be selective and stick to the main story. In his assessment, Ulster as a society was frightening at first, then inconvenient, then annoying, then maddening, and ultimately a bore.

His novels include The Lower River and The Mosquito Coast, and his renowned travel books include Ghost Train to the Eastern Star and Dark Star Safari. He experiences yobs on trains, fights between mods and skinheads, grotty seaside guesthouses and a rail strike.We use cookies to personalise content and ads, to provide social media features and to analyse our traffic.

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