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First published in 1959 The Centre of the Green is John Bowen’s third novel. The story centres around the Baker family: the father Justin is a retired Colonel; the mother, Teresa, is over-possessive and refuses to admit that her sons have grown-up; the sons Julian and Charles – one is a married advertising copywriter with a penchant for extra-marital affairs while the other is withdrawn and suicidal, desperately looking for human contact in the vast anonymity of London.
It is Julian’s involvement with a seventeen-year-old girl that sparks the chain of events that eventually encompasses the whole family. The scene shifts between Devonshire, London and Majorca as each member of the family searches for a resolution to the impasse into which they have drifted and struggle to regain the family ties that they once had.
A subtle, intelligent and compassionate novel The Centre of the Green was commended by the Observer for its ‘admirable vitality’, while the Spectator described it as ‘a series of expertly managed shocks’.
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