Sunday Salon: Brother of the More Famous Jack by Barbara Trapido and the BBC National Short Story Collection 2008.
First I read the short-listed short stories from the BBC competition 2008 and thought this the strongest collection of the competitions so far (though I haven't read 2009's yet). Richard Beard's was cleverly-written in the second person, and gave advice to an adulterous politician. Jane Gardam's was about some retired judges, and was sharp and funny. Erin Soros's was about a child during the second world war in America and was tense and incredibly well structured with a great ending. I liked this one the best. Adam Thorpe's also had an excellent structure and also revolved around an incident during the second world war. This too was very well done. Clare Wigfall's was the one that won the competition. It was in the voice of a poorly educated woman from a Scottish island and had a surprising and memorably-sad ending.
I have also read Barbara Trepido's Brother of the More Famous Jack. It's a long time since I read a book like this and I thoroughly enjoyed it, in fact I could barely tear myself away. Just as she is about to begin at university Katherine is introduced to the Goldman family by a friend. They are energetic, extremely liberal and unconventional (and I would have found them exhausting). She becomes infatuated with the eldest son, Roger, but is also enthralled with the father, Jacob, and the mother, Jane. Her life is glamorously bohemian and strongly evocative of the seventies. It made me realise how much has changed. I've now ordered another of Barbara Trapido's books just in case I think I need to indulge myself again next weekend.