The Offing review: timely lament for the crumbling best of England

Benjamin Myers’s state-of-nation tale paints grief and beauty and eroding shorelines

Benjamin Myers: His new novel’s lyricism is arresting and profoundly moving.

Benjamin Myers: His new novel’s lyricism is arresting and profoundly moving.

Early in The Offing, Benjamin Myers’s remarkable new novel, the protagonist Robert Appleyard regurgitates a mouthful of anti-German cant. The scene is a cottage at Robin Hood’s Bay on England’s Yorkshire coast; and the time is immediately after the end of the second World War.

Robert is barely 16, but his opinions are already conditioned by the trauma of conflict: by the sight of crippled men sent home to live as best they can in his Co Durham coalmining village; the greyness and pitiless austerity that have accompanied victory.

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