Saturday, 30 July 2011

Monica Redlich - Five Farthings

Monica Redlich's Five Farthings is slowly coming into shape ready for the printer. Text complete and ready for the editing. As I'm doing my usual 'complete and unabridged' edition, this means checking that every full stop is where it should be or where it was in the first edition. I reread the novel constantly during this process and am (still) charmed by it. It's a wonderful story of 1930s London, pre-war and much of it I suspect obliterated in the Blitz. There don't seem to be so many London-set novels for children, even Ballet Shoes or Curtain Up only really mentioned the Underground. With any luck a sentence like that will ensure that lots of people comment to say how wrong I am and give examples. Five Farthings shows the grubbiness and charm of city life from theatres to architechture to the quiet corners only locals know.

I'll need to return to the question of 'queer' as the search for 'queer people' (unusual people) takes up much of Five Farthings. I intend to reprint an unabridged version, but need to formulate a note at the front along the lines of 'this is a complete and unabridged version of Redlich's novel. Words have not been updated or omitted'.

UPDATE: Thank you for the recommendation for Marcus Crouch. I'd forgotten about that review. I may be biased, but it strikes me as fair. All being well, the book will be ready well before Christmas. I would reply to your comment, but Blogger keeps logging me out.


  1. Delighted to hear that Five Farthings will be published before too long. I'm looking forward to it.

  2. Five Farthings has a good write-up in 'Treasure Seekers and Borrowers', a survey of Children's Books 1900-1960 by Marcus Crouch. He says, 'Some of the most satisfying of these family stories were those of Monica Redlich....The Farthings, an exceptionally nice family, went to live in the City of London, literally in the shadow of St Paul's. London was the principal character in a story which dealt quietly and intelligently with the problems of growing up. Vivien, going to work in a publishing house, discovering the wonder of Wren's architecture, learning the ecstacy of first love, was a most appealing heroine. This was highly competent, professional novel writing...'
    I've bought quite a number of Mr Crouch's recommendations and found his judgement excellent. But I've never been able to get hold of Five Farthings, so I too are looking forward to its re-publication.

  3. I have a very battered first edition. Nearly finished reading it and agree it is excellent. Did the 'N-word' also remain in the book when republished?

  4. Hi Sally

    Sorry - change in browsers meant I missed your comment. Yes, it's a full-text reproduction.