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Turning upon the smallest of hints, and taking the detritus of modern life – offhand diary entries, discarded cigarette ends, casual glances – as a series of clues, a London barber becomes obsessed with the idea of his wife’s infidelity. In this masterfully told tale, jealousy, hatred and nostalgia stir uneasily in the quiet of London’s post-war suburbia. First published in 1949, The Body is an excellent example of William Sansom’s ability to suspend and play out momentary fears, building up to an altered vision where even the most familiar things are uncertain.


William Sansom (1912-1976) was a leading writer of his day, both for fiction and non-fiction. In 1946 and 1947 he was awarded two literary prizes by the Society of Authors, and in 1951 was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. During the Second World War he became a full-time London firefighter, serving throughout the Blitz. His experiences…

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