… wrote Colonel Pinner in “Jerusalem” by Patrick Neate.

I’m not sure that I liked the book enough to recommend it (some gory and “adult” bits I did not like) but it was written well enough for me to try to get to the end. It has the odd moment that gives one pause for thought. The fly-leaf says that the book is about Englishness and to some extent the author does try to explore that. There are several storylines which take place in England and a fictional country in Africa and which stretch from the 19th to the 21st centuries. William Blake’s anthem “Jerusalem” is a subsidiary theme in the book. If you are familiar with the words you’ll know that the poem asks a question to which the answer is “No”.

I don’t think that “Jerusalem” answers the question “What is Englishness?” The plot takes us to and from Africa via London, Bristol, Gloucestershire and Dagenham in this quest but ultimately is not successful even if the chief characters mostly achieve some kind of redemption – or at least resolution of their situation.

I think 3 stars (out of 5) or 5/10. I read a library copy and am happy to give it back.

Meanwhile, that quote from page 371 did make me think. After a while I decided that I probably agree. Interestingly, the next line is “What is your opinion of this?”