Chaos undermines bourgeois normality as Brighton braces itself for a German invasion in this Booker-nominated novelMost people go to Ikea for sofa beds and oddly named bookshelves; Alison MacLeod goes there for inspiration. In 2007 she published a story, “Notes for a Chaotic Century”, based on the riot that broke out during a sale at a north London branch of the Scandinavian furniture store. It was a perceptive and frankly hilarious account of the basest form of consumerism, but also demonstrated MacLeod’s prowess as a student of chaos: “As any chaotician will tell you, in the state of chaos only change is predictable.”Her third novel, which has been included on the longlist for the Man Booker prize, was also prompted by current events; in this case, al-Qaida’s terror attack on London on 7 July 2005. Yet rather than writing about the bombings directly, MacLeod has transposed the atmosphere of fear and vulnerability to her home town of Brighton in the spring and summer of 1940, as the population braced itself for the prospect of a German invasion.Focusing on the affairs of an average middle-class family – Geoffrey Beaumont, a bank manager, his wife, Evelyn, and their eight-year-old son, Philip – …read more

Via: The Guardian | Books