A touch of Daniel

18 January 2017

A Touch Of DanielA Touch Of Daniel by Peter Tinniswood
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I first read A touch of Daniel 45 years ago, quite soon after it was written, and only a few years after I had visited north-west England, where it is set. The story deals with the Brandon family, who live in a place that sounds like Oldham, Lancashire, where I once stayed with a college friend, Alan Cox. I had been reading other books set in the area, like Elidor, and so I found a kind of affinity and feel for the place.

A touch of Daniel above all gives a feel for the place and the people. It deals with the Brandon family, who take in various widowed relatives, and deals with how they all get on in a crowded house. It is both sad and funny, and the first time I read it, it struck me as amazingly realistic. If you wanted to get a feel for the culture of people in north-western England in the 1960s, this would be the book to read.

Daniel is a baby, said by some members of the family to be a source of “fluences”, and by others to be a victim of “fluences”. I thought “fluences” was a made-up word until I heard someone use it in real life a few weeks after I had read the book.

The first reading gave a feeling for the place and the people, but reading it again 45 years later it is also a remembrance of things past, a recalling of pre-Thatcher Britain.

I’m now re-reading the next book in the series, I didn’t know you cared.

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