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  • Michael Braccia

Review of 'The Black Country' (Kerry Hadley-Pryce')

Updated: Aug 4, 2019

I met Kerry at Dudley Library in November at a writers' networking morning. She read from her novel, 'The Black Country', and along with three other panelists, answered our questions. It was fascinating to hear the views of established authors. I am pleased to have a signed copy of Kerry's book, and I have written a short review:

Dark and deep, this story scratches around in the depths of the lives of the characters. I will avoid spoilers, but suffice to say Harry does not cover himself in glory, and Maddie is ashamed of her past. Some of their mistakes are just that. Mistakes. The style in which this is written pulls me into the temptation of saying ‘mistakes’ again. They are. Just mistakes.

There is a love between Maddie and Harry, and that love is destructive. The tastes, feelings and smells they both experience in themselves and in each other provide an almost poetic description of their relationship. At times they hate each other with a passion. As the facts begin to become clear, that passion, and that hate, start to make sense. On the surface, their success in breaking away from the working class ties of the Black Country into the middle-class world of teaching and real estate, gives both Harry and Maddie a kind of legitimacy. That legitimacy will not last.

Kerry Hadley-Pryce feeds us a style that will not suit everyone, but it is a fascinating and gripping story. I can only agree with Alison Moore who said ‘The Black Country begs to be read in one go, tugging the reader onwards through its quietly intense and strangely intimate world’.

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