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This blog makes liberal use of AB's journals, letters, travel notes, and other sources.
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Wednesday, 16 December 2015
The "Disputed Land" of the title refers to the welsh border area in west Shropshire where the novel is set but in fact this is a metaphor for family power struggles over generations revealed, if ever so subtly, during a Christmas gathering. I think the message, at least in part, may be that the most apparently powerful may not in fact have the stamina and endurance to win in the end. As my mother used often to say, "It's the quiet ones you have to watch out for".
There is an interesting little plot twist at the end when we hear that Theo (the hero) has been burning the books he inherited from his grandfather for warmth. It turns out that the novel is narrated by Theo from some time in the future when profligate use of the world's resources have evidently undermined his comfortable way of life - an outcome predicted at the Christmas gathering by his dying grandmother.