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Books in brief: “The Living” by Anjali Joseph

'The Living is a portrait of listless perseverance, of tired, lonely people weighed down by recriminations and regrets. '

28454769The Living by Anjali Joseph (Fourth Estate, £12.99)

The award-winning writer Anjali Joseph’s third novel, The Living, comprises two stories told side by side. Its narrators are Claire, a 35-year-old single mother who works at a shoe factory in Norfolk, and Arun, an elderly sandal-maker in India. Artisanship aside, they have in common an impressive accumulation of familial baggage: an estranged mother in her case, a stagnant marriage in his. Claire recalls her “mother’s face, her mouth drawn tight then opening to spit something poisonous.” Whatever had transpired between them—there is a…

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