Widows and Orphans
The Francombe & Salter Mercury has served the residents of two South Coast resorts for over 150 years. Hit by both the economic decline and the advent of new technology, Duncan Neville, the latest member of his family to occupy the editor’s chair, is struggling to keep the paper afloat. Duncan’s personal life is in similar disarray as he juggles the demands of his elderly mother, disaffected son, harassed ex-wife and devoted secretary. Meanwhile, a childhood friend turned bitter rival unveils plans to rebuild the dilapidated pier, which, while promising to revive the town’s fortunes, threaten its traditional ethos. Then Duncan meets Ellen, a recent divorcee, who has moved to Francombe with her two teenage children.
After the foreign landscapes and theological dramas of Jubilate and The Breath of Night, Michael Arditti’s latest novel is a return to the home front in both subject and setting. By turns lyrical, witty and poignant, Widows and Orphans casts an unflinching eye over the joys and adversities of contemporary life and paints a masterful portrait of a decent man fighting for his principles in a hostile world.
‘Arditti’s fictional Francombe is a familiar seaside town and a brilliantly revealing microcosm of a society where greed and power are embraced… Widows and Orphans is powerfully realistic. Arditti has written an uncomfortable but very readable novel about the careless greeds of the way we live now.’ Helen Dunmore, the Guardian