A coming of age novel between reality and fairy tale in post-war Britain.
Xan Brooks was one of the editorial founders of The Big Issue in London. He is now an associate editor at the Guardian, specialising in film, and he hosts the weekly Guardian Film Show. The Clocks in This House All Tell Different Times is his debut novel.
Lucy Marsh, an orphaned girl from a north-east London district of dying industries and poverty, is whisked off to Epping Forest, a land haunted by the past. There she meets the ‘funny men’, four ex-servicemen left disfigured by war and named after Dorothy’s companions in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. They are hiding themselves - their stories of war, terror and loss - but Lucy finds here her path into adulthood.
Xan’s debut novel walks a blurred line between reality and fairy tale with images of post-war Britain brought vividly to life. Despite the grotesque and disturbing story, The Clocks in This House All Tell Different Times is a mesmerising and uplifting novel.