Reviewer: Ben Macnair
Publisher: Arcadia Press August 2021
ISBN: 978-1911350989 HB
Love Under Lockdown is an examination of generations, polarised by Brexit, and the difference in sensibilities, and responsibilities. It is a book about love, family, long-standing male friendship, the solidity of the local pub, all the old uncertainties being washed away, and as the book ends, the first Covid-19 lockdown begins to lift.
The book is timely, but it has had a long time to digest the impact of Brexit on families, between the generations, and the impact that it has on the country.
Last seen in Michael Estorick’s previous novel About Time, Bill and Pete have known each other since school, and are now in their seventies. They still go to the pub to put the world to rights, discuss life, love, sport and politics, and their families. Bill has a troubled relationship with his son Ivan, with each seeing the other as being wrong. Brexit may have been the catalyst for their latest troubles, but Bill’s realism and Ivan’s idealism have always been at odds.
The book is humorous and looks at serious issues with a light comedic touch. The scenes are short, the dialogue between Bill and Pete is affectionate, but as lifelong friends they know which buttons to push, and the right way in which to push them.
The book looks at late-life love, and the blossoming relationship between Bill and Helen, whilst Pete’s romantic travails look at his failed marriage and the severing of ties with his step-children. There is much pathos in the novel as well as humour, keeping it grounded in the everyday realities of life.
Although the action takes place between 2016 and 2021, the book barrels along, through events in the real world, and how they affect the microcosm of Bill and Pete’s life. Although there is no real danger to the characters, it is an affectionate snapshot of two old friends who will always be there for each other, complaining about the world, and the small part that they play in it.