Books, LGBT

London Lies Beneath – Stella Duffy


A bone angel, all that was left of a farm and a view and a hope of prosperity. An angel that Ida prayed to, not believing it was magic, not believing that it wasn’t. Beautifully carved it was though, lovingly made, meant to pass on and protect.

About this time last week, I got home from lunch with a friend (during which I managed not to go and buy a ticket for the next Eurostar to Paris – though I must admit that a lot of this seeming self-control actually stemmed from not having my passport with me) to a parcel, and squeaked with joy.

London Lies Beneath is Stella Duffy’s latest novel, published last week. I’ve been excited about it for ages – I preordered it from Hive a month ago, and that was after months of anticipation. I spent most of the afternoon last Monday, reading London Lies Beneath, curled up with tea, occasionally visited by a cat. I read quite a lot on trains on Friday, and cried while sitting in St Pancras, between congratulating myself once again on not buying a Eurostar ticket, and finished it on my way to work this morning. I haven’t stopped thinking about it since, or any time in between, really.

Three boys from Walworth join the Scouts, and go on an adventure, and only two of them come home again. Of course, there is much more to it than that short summary, but I don’t want to give anything away. All I want to tell you is that it’s about family, and the magic that we all carry in our pockets, and south London, and grief, and the sea, and community, and adventure, and that it touched me deeply, not just by making me cry but by staying near the front of my mind throughout the past week. It’s the kind of book that I wanted to race through so I knew what happened, but I never wanted to finish – the absolute best sort.


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