An Experiment In Love, Paperback Book
3.5 out of 5 (1 rating)


Following 'A Change in Climate', this brilliant novel from the double Man Booker prize-winning author of 'Wolf Hall' is a coming-of-age tale set in Seventies London.

It is London, 1970. Carmel McBain, in her first term at university, has cut free of her childhood roots in the north.

Among the gossiping, flirtatious girls of Tonbridge Hall, she begins her experiments in life and love.

But the year turns. The mini-skirt falls out of style and an era of concealment begins.

Carmel's world darkens, and tragedy waits in the wings.


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This is one of those books where the author seems to be much more interested in the detail than in the story. Mantel doesn't bother to tie up any of the loose ends for us: we're expected to do the work ourselves, if we care to. The detail is rich and wonderful: as an account of growing up in relatively poor circumstances in the North of England it's almost as compelling as <i>Oranges are not the only fruit</i> — if you can imagine <i>Oranges</i> with modest Catholic wallflowers in place of ranting Pentecostal super-egos, that is — and there's a lot there that anyone who's ever been a penniless student should be able to identify with. I didn't feel that Mantel really took us to the point where we could understand why Carmel stops eating, though.

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