At the heart of Joe Bedford’s impressive debut novel, A Bad Decade For Good People, is a stunning, yet ultimately – and perhaps inevitably – devastating expression of queer romance between central character George and Spanish expatriate Antonio. Antonio is on a chivalrous quest to find his English grandfather, a hero of the Spanish Civil War in his eyes, while also determined to revel in the apparent freedom of living in a British city known for its culture of debauchery.
The novel takes in political unrest, the EU referendum, the scars we bear (whether as a mark of pride or trauma) and the fight for justice both at home and abroad, while reckoning with the politics of identity and the self. Bedford expertly crafts Brighton as a city of parties and protests, its streets soaked in sunlight and booze-filled lust for life, that acts as the world’s stage for social and personal change.
While the focus sometimes shifts to the London riots of 2011, the Sussex hometown of George and sister Laurie, and even Guadalupe in Spain, the novel’s eye returns to Brighton and its central cast of misfits, activists, champagne socialists, and simply good people trying to survive. A Bad Decade For Good People is perceptive and empathetic in its quest for hope and joy.
A Bad Decade For Good People, Joe Bedford (Parthian)
Price: £10.99. Info: here
words JOSHUA JONES
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