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Reviews

  • In illuminating her own, Light serves up the most powerful family history I have ever read.

    Penelope Lively, New York Times
  • Light writes beautifully. With such colour and with perception and lyricism she clads the past....Common People is part memoir, part thrilling social history of the England of the Industrial Revolution, but above all a work of quiet poetry and insight into human behaviour. It is full of wisdom.

    Melanie Reid, The Times Book of the Week
  • This book is a substantial achievement: its combination of scholarship and intelligence is, you may well think, the best monument you could have to all those she has rescued from time's oblivion.

    Financial Times
  • Evocatively written...a thrilling and unnerving read

    The Observer
  • Exquisite...Barely a page goes by without something fascinating on it, betraying Light's skill in winkling out the most relevant or moving aspects of her antecedents' lives, which echo through the generations.

    the Independent on Sunday
  • [A] short and beautifully written meditation on family and mobility.

    the Independent
  • Intellectually sound and relevant...a refreshingly modern way of thinking about our past.

    New Statesman
  • Light [is skilled] in probing dark corners of her ancestry and exposing their historical meaning...packed with humanity.

    Sunday Times
  • Beautifully written and exhaustively researched, Alison Light makes her family speak for England.

    Jerry White, author of London in the Eighteenth Century
  • A remarkable achievement...should become a classic.

    Margaret Drabble

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