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We are delighted to announce that within the next two weeks we will launch a brand new website which will be much fresher and aesthetically pleasing than our current site. Additionionally, the site will be easier to use and ordering will be improved and faster to complete.

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The News Where You Are by Catherine O'Flynn


Story Image

The News Where You Are: Catherine O’Flynn

THE award-winning debut from Catherine O’Flynn, What Was Lost, won the Costa first novel award

Set in the Midlands it is about loss, focusing on the impersonal world of a shopping mall.

O’Flynn’s second novel is also set in the Midlands but is about remembrance. Frank Allcroft is a presenter on the local TV news programme Heart Of England Reports. Frank is something of a local legend, not through any journalistic scoop but because of the terrible jokes he uses as links between items.

He inherited these, along with their writer Cyril, from his predecessor Phil Smethway, who died 15 years before in a hit-and-run accident. Where Phil was smooth and charming, Frank is clumsy and awkward. While that might seem to be a problem it has actually boosted ratings.

Instead of becoming desensitised Frank is interested in the stories of those who die alone. He becomes the lone mourner at funerals. The death of one man on a park bench leads Frank to unravel the mystery of Phil’s accident.

Frank also has his own family to think about. His grumpy mother is ensconced in an old people’s home and his daughter Mo is a constant source of youthful enquiry.

Frank wants her to see some of the buildings designed by her architect grandfather and Frank’s need to protect his father’s legacy taps into the book’s major theme. It means a journey to confront his own father’s passing and why it is that he doesn’t see himself as his parents’ most important legacy.

While this second book lacks some of the sharp observation of the first its gentle wit and melancholy are beguiling.

Viking, £12.99

DAVID HEADLEY (The Daily Express 2 July 2010)