From where I sit in December 2020, the start of the year seems like a very long time ago.
Back then I picked up this book again in ernest. I had noodled with it a bit the year before. We had crossed a year of tumultuous political debate, seemingly irreconcilable opinions that saw us formally leave the EU at the end of January.
For some reason I thought a single novel could help me parse this situation. Which is probably a little unfair in retrospect.
So I borrowed it from a friends shelf and ploughed through, in search of answers.
I did not find them.
I found a reasonable depiction of how I was feeling, and how those around me appeared to feel too. I do not think it helped me understand anything new about the various sides of the Brexit debate that split the UK. However it gave a reasonable depiction of what it felt like to live through bits of it.
January 2020 is a long time ago now. I wonder what place this book has as those memories fade into history or are buried under a pandemic and whatever fresh hell might await us in 2021. Perhaps though, if you were not around for all this, it is a better view into the UK than you might get from “Downton Abbey” or “the Crown”.
The “Middle” here could be class, the gap in politics within our circles or the swathes of geography between the bigger cities. If you were not stuck there, if it matters much now, and you wanted to see what it was like. It looked a bit like this.