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Carr, J(ames) L(loyd)

village moon british birkin

(British 1912–94)

Carr, although well-travelled, chose to live away from metropolitan centres in a small town in the British midlands. His novels often evoke a rural, English world where tradition is on the verge of being overthrown. Begin with A Month in the Country (1980), which was Booker shortlisted and successfully filmed. Two survivors from the First World War, Tom Birkin, an art restorer, and Charles Moon, an archaeologist, meet in the Yorkshire Wolds. Their discoveries threaten to undermine the traditional assumptions of the village; Moon's, because the occupant of the grave he is working on may be a Muslim from the crusades; and Birkin's, because the mural he is uncovering is a masterpiece, news of which might threaten the nature of the village's life. The Battle of Pollock's Crossing (1985) is a comic novel which describes the visit of Bradford schoolteacher George Gidney to Palisades, South Dakota; small-town America at its most marginal.

Graham Swift, Michael Frayn  IP

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