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  Title: Akenfield

Author: Ronald Blythe

Date published: 1969

Status: in print

Price: GBP 9.99 (7.99 0n amazon.co.uk)

What is it? A portrayal of rural Suffolk life at the height of the swinging sixties - the old order passing away, the new Suffolk being born. It is Suffolk's Cathy Come Home.

What's it like? the boys at the agricultural training centre will discuss sex quite easily. Most of them have had quite a lot of experience and their attitudes are fairly uninhibited. They live in dread of getting 'caught' - of having to marry because their girl is pregnant. Farmers' sons are reckoned good matches and a particularly eligible male from a good farm will be noted down for miles around. A surprising number of men stay bachelors but nobody finds this very extraordinary.

What's good about it? Blythe gently allows the people of Akenfield (Charsfield in real life - the site entry here includes further extracts) to reveal themselves. It is the best single evocation of post-war rural English life, and perhaps the best book ever written about Suffolk.

What's bad about it? Nothing - it's marvellous.

Overall rating: 5/5

Buy this book: Amazon.co.uk (UK and Europe), Amazon.com (rest of the world)