A LIFE’S WORK: The death of an owl by Paul and Piers Torday

Review published on July 1, 2016.

This is not the kind of genre I normally read, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. In a nutshell it is about a megalomaniac and somewhat corrupt Tory MP, Andrew Landford, and the team around him. The story spans several decades from the characters’ student days leading up to the Thatcher era to the present day, and the story is told in the first person by Landford’s political advisor, Charles Fryerne. Although I couldn’t identify with the characters from a social class or political persuasion, I found the book interesting as the characters are of a similar age to me. The part of the book that is set in the Thatcher era is based on reality. The story then jumps to the present day when the Tories form the opposition having just lost the general election. The owl in the title, who’s death fairly on in the book appears to play a minor role, plays an increasingly important role until it crescendos at the climax of the book. The pace of the book, I would say, is steady. It’s not the pace of a thriller yet not too slow that you lose interest. One criticism I do have is that the book is very male dominated, with women playing virtually no part. But then again, maybe this says more about the Tory MP world than it does about the book!

Christine Deudney
Personal 5
Group 5

The death of an owl by Paul and Piers Torday
W&N hbk May 2016

 

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