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Late Call (1964)

de Angus Wilson

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A compassionate portrait of an elderly - and frustrated - woman adjusting to new town life and finding a new purpose in living. Illness forces Sylvia Calvert to live with her son Harold, a headmaster in Carshall New Town. At first, Sylvia cannot adjust to the jungle of supermarkets, 10-pin bowling alleys and recreation areas; to the committees and purposeful entertaining involved in the creation of a new society. Above all, Sylvia can't understand Harold's odd, thrusting idealism and the strange behaviour of her grandchildren. But a chance meeting and a family crisis give her the chance to fulfil herself ...… (més)
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Es mostren totes 2
A newly-retired couple come to live with their recently-widowed son and grandchildren in a New Town in the Middle England of the early 1960s. And that's just about all that actually happens in the space of three hundred pages, but we don't really notice that, as Wilson digs into the way people are shaped, moved along, or left stranded, by history, social class and accidents of biology. From snooty World War I nurses to the ton-up boys and Jimmy Porters of the sixties (the Am Drams are — rather daringly — doing Look back in anger), from education textbooks to bodice-rippers and soap opera, from bridge parties to the provincial gay underground, from parks to public meetings, Wilson has got his sharp eyes open and nails crucial bits of English social behaviour that help to explain what makes his (superficially) ordinary characters tick. Wonderful, funny, sad, and very acute. ( )
  thorold | May 8, 2020 |
What happens when a mother moves in with her son and tries to understand what is going on around her in this new setting. Small town frustration, or the modes of modicum. ( )
1 vota dbsovereign | Jan 26, 2016 |
Es mostren totes 2
Angus Wilson's unsettling novel Late Call (1964) is, to my knowledge, the only work of fiction to be set in a postwar new town. It concerns a family in the process of unravelling. Recently widowed, Harold Calvert has invited his mother, Sylvia, (and, by default, his father) to come and live with his almost grown-up family....
"The Sycamores" is a detached, ranch-style house, with white weatherboarding and picture windows. Harold is an enthusiast for the new town – his previous house was in a terraced street, part of the first phase of Carshall's development. (The fictional town was perhaps based on Harlow.)
afegit per KayCliff | editaGuardian, Giliian Darnby
 
Late Call is a desperate picture of the bleakness and flatness of life in a New Town on the edge of the English Midlands, where the gimmickry of affluence has become a way of life rather than an aid to living. American writers, investigating a wide range of air-conditioned nightmares, have been on to such subjects for years, but they are still new in English fiction.
Into this modish but hollow setting Mr. Wilson inserts his truly heroic heroine—the vehicle of his positives—Sylvia Calvert, now in her sixties.
afegit per KayCliff | editaNew York Review of Books, Bernard Bergonzi (Feb 25, 1965)
 
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Arthur said, "We're off to live with my son in Carshall, one of those New Towns.... it's one of England's showpieces." ... He was full of it when the family met them at Carshall old town station.
Dear Mother, ... Craighill was the first district of Carshall to be completed after the Town Centre. And the first to have its own shopping centre and community hall.... Melling is on the far side of Carshall away from the trunk road; almost into the country, but, of course, facing the town.... "The Sycamores" is a good modern house with its own two acres of garden - but, of course, not isolated; it conforms to the Carshall neighbourhood principles.
The New Town, though it merged into the country, was yet cut off from it by a system of lanes and roads that turned back on themselves and eventually returned to the Town Centre.
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A compassionate portrait of an elderly - and frustrated - woman adjusting to new town life and finding a new purpose in living. Illness forces Sylvia Calvert to live with her son Harold, a headmaster in Carshall New Town. At first, Sylvia cannot adjust to the jungle of supermarkets, 10-pin bowling alleys and recreation areas; to the committees and purposeful entertaining involved in the creation of a new society. Above all, Sylvia can't understand Harold's odd, thrusting idealism and the strange behaviour of her grandchildren. But a chance meeting and a family crisis give her the chance to fulfil herself ...

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