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Fallout by Sadie Jones

On June 16, 2014

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By Sophia Whitfield
Sadie Jones won the Costa First Novel Award with her debut The Outcast. Fallout is her fourth novel and tracks the youthful adventures of a London theatre group during the 1970s.

The central character is a damaged Luke Kanowski, whose Polish father and French mother have neglected him. He is desperate to flee his family situation, an alcoholic father and a mother committed to an asylum. A chance meeting with Paul Driscoll changes his life and gives him the opportunity to leave his home in the Midlands for London.

Luke moves in with Paul and his feminist girlfriend Leigh. Full of youthful altruism the three friends form a radical theatre company. Between them they have what it takes, Paul the producer, Luke the playwright and Leigh the stage manager. Their days and nights are consumed by the theatre, during the day they prepare their own theatre company while at nigh they attend plays then critically tear them apart in smoky bars. Full of wide eyed youth they make plans for their own theatre company pouring everything they have into their dream. Jones paints an endearing picture of youthful exuberance as these three fearlessly launch into the theatre scene in London.

But things soon change when Nina, a fragile actress, enters the scene. Nina is in a loveless marriage, trapped in a relationship with a controlling theatre producer. The wayward Luke recognises in Nina a fellow damaged soul. With this new trespasser in a world previously occupied by three, the cohesive unit of Paul, Luke and Leigh comes under threat.

Jonesís story is captivating. Each character is carefully crafted from Luke, the good looking genius harbouring self doubt to Tony, Ninaís sadistic husband. Jones easily draws the reader into a world fuelled by passion and egos.

Fallout is a wonderfully riveting read.

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