20 January 2022, The Tablet

Were you there?


Free Love
(JONATHAN CAPE, 320 PP, £16.99)
Tablet bookshop price £15.29 • tel 020 7799 4064

There is much to enjoy in this novel, especially if, like me, you were there in the Sixties. I inhabited a mouldy basement in Edinburgh, wore a fur coat called Priscilla, demonstrated against many things, and didn’t even chortle when my companion, in a thick Fife accent, announced his intention to “split tae the Men’s Union, babe”.

The details, first of all. Here you’ll find stamp albums, mandarin oranges, Bunty comics. Mateus Rosé makes an appearance, as do flared trousers, The Byrds, Biba ... but, as is proper, these details don’t intrude. They form an organic part of the narrative, bringing the era to life.

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