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The City Of Invention

The book reviews of UK children's author, Brian Keaney

A Child's Eye View Of Mental Illness

When We Were Romans - Matthew Kneale

Recounted from the point of view of nine year old Lawrence, this is an exquisitely painful account of his travels back and forth between England, Italy and Scotland with his mentally ill mother and younger sister. The voice is utterly convincing and the plot horribly compelling as it moves steadily towards an apparently catastrophic ending.


The Times critic observed that 'the combination of insight and innocence is powerfully affecting' and I can only second that. It's not a comfortable read but it's a book that stays with you long after you've finished reading it.