Novel diversification in north-east setting

21 August 1998

Novel diversification in north-east setting

FARMERS are exhorted to diversify to supplement their income and if John Lowries novel* is an example, this is another avenue to be considered by those of literary bent.

His portrayal of different characters, their lifetime trials, tribulations and just deserts, are built round the reminiscences of a fictitious widower, Charlie Hammond, who reminisces after the funeral of a close friend.

The north-east setting draws on John Lowries own upbringing in a region where good farming has been practised in close proximity with coal mining and heavy industry for many years. Most of his characters, including Charlie, are less than perfect but those good in heart seem to win through in the end, and there is morality and rough justice in most of the plots.

This is an easy and delightful read which progresses through a series of individual and family tales. While it can be picked up and put down without losing the plot there is a strong compulsion to read through from start to finish. HPH

*Just a Customer by John Lowrie; Marionette Books, I Hutton Close, South Church, Bishop Auckland, Co Durham (£7.95).

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