The Dark Circle by Linda Grant

The Dark Circle
Linda Grant

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Published: 2016

Shortlisted for the 2017 Women's Prize for Fiction

It’s 1949, the Second World War is over and a new decade of recovery is beginning, but for East End teenage twins who have been living on the edge of the law, life has been suspended. Diagnosed with tuberculosis, they are sent away to a sanatorium in Kent to take the cure and submit to the authority of the doctors, learning the deferential way of the patient.

Through doors newly opened by the year-old NHS go Lenny, a street dandy in his striped London drape suit, and his sister Miriam in her cherry-red felt coat and beret pinned gingerly onto stiff blue-black curls. Trapped in a sterile, closed environment, the twins find themselves in wider company than they’ve ever known – air force officers, a car salesman, a young university graduate, a mysterious German woman, a member of the aristocracy and the late arrival blasting through their lethargic submission to authority – an American merchant seaman with big ideas about how to wake up the joint. Together, they discover that a cure is tantalisingly just out of reach and only by inciting wholesale rebellion can freedom be snatched.


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