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Old 5th Jun 2010, 8:57   #21
Colyngbourne
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Default Re: Nigel Balchin: Darkness Falls from the Air

Yes, it is. Tom Wilkinson has that knack of almost always delivering exactly the right performance in anything he does, so I look forward to seeing this one day.
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Old 10th Feb 2011, 13:48   #22
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Default Re: Nigel Balchin: Darkness Falls from the Air

I have finally started reading Darkness Falls From The Air, and if you can hear an odd sort of thudding it's me trying to kick myself for not starting sooner.

One thing I noticed immediately is the connection, from Patrick Hamilton and then Balchin and on into Derek Raymond (I read He Died With His Eyes Open recently), of these knowingly doomed, dislocated, tragi-comic guys, drinking out of habit; intelligent and erudite and thoroughly aware that they're wading through the crap and the grey discomfort of an oppressive city they may be, but they're not about to do anything about it. Sarratt's gloomy disregard of Lennox or Stephen is as witty and biting as anything uttered by the un-named Detective in the Factory novels.

Quote:
"We have no small virtues at all. We're lazy, complacent, undisciplined and generally deplorable. We only manage to carry on at all because we've got a certain genius for living in the world."
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Old 10th Feb 2011, 16:47   #23
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Default Re: Nigel Balchin: Darkness Falls from the Air

That's the Balchin I have to read next then. I've loved both A Small Back Room and A Way Through the Wood.
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Old 19th Feb 2011, 18:01   #24
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Default Re: Nigel Balchin: Darkness Falls from the Air

Finished this earlier in the week. I really enjoyed it, the wartime vibe, the lovely lilt of dialogue, all of that, but I think I was expecting too much of the ending and it didn't quite hit all the switches for me (although, I'm not actually complaining here, you certainly read those last twenty pages breathlessly), but I feel rather churlish saying that.

Simply put, this is yet another one of those Palimpsest success stories that I just would never have read if I didn't reside here.
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Old 15th Aug 2012, 16:09   #25
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Default Re: Nigel Balchin: Darkness Falls from the Air

Bringing Balchin back to the top of the pile to applaud Sundry Creditors, easily the most unusual book I read on holidays this year (bar a book on recession economics) and deservedly up there already in my reads of the year for its 'field of play'. Written over two decades Sundry Creditors's dramas unfold mostly within the gates and boardrooms of a small-to-middling Midlands steel manufacturing business, which is in the throes of managing staffing change, ownership change and process-change as the modern world and sharp business and industry practice begins to impinge on essentially C19th companies. Ostensibly it follows the fortunes of four principal characters, upon the demise of the old-style family/factory patriarch, but it is more principally concerned with the dynamics within the factory and within the managerial board and industrial relations. The flow of tension is steered in various directions and perhaps this is the novel's sincere fault, that the aim is too broad and the characterisation not sufficiently developed overall. Walter Lang, the principal (but to his frustration, not majority) share-holder, would seem to be the main subject under study - his plans for solo power in the boardroom and his personal and business failings are the principal focus of the plot - but we see a study of business from the bottom end too, with steel-pressing factory worker Jack and assembly line worker Hilda. The book runs out of steam by the end, a great shame, but an unusual world of 1950's shop stewards and "works dances" with a tense and subtle power-battle amongst directors and trustees (and a very stressful 'works enquiry' into sexual harassment) make this a fabulous read.

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