Posted on 20th September 2011

Posted by Sophie

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Rampant Readers group reads The Proof of Love

As part of the Fiction Uncovered 2011 promotion, we worked with The Reading Agency to reach reading groups across the UK. As part of the promotion eight selected reading groups were given one of the selected Fiction Uncovered titles to read and we’re delighted that they’ve been able to feed back their thoughts.

We’ll be posting up a selection of the reviews over the coming months.

This is Kathy’s review of The Proof of Love by Catherine Hall. Kathy is part of the ‘Rampant Readers’ reading group, Leicester.

“Catherine Hall’s simple style is very readable and her story flows easily. Her Cumbrian childhood allows for some detailed, graphic and memorable scenes of the realities of Cumbrian farming life.  Hall’s themes are thought provoking, although I found the pace of the book rather slow and wasn’t gripped until two-thirds of the way through.

Hall handles her central theme sensitively contrasting the young mathematician’s academic brilliance with his social and emotional naiveté.  Ill equipped to deal with the minefield of adult relationships, it is no surprise that Spencer forms a comfortable friendship with ten-year-old Alice.  They share the same innocent delight in learning and the sense of being outsiders in the local community.  Hall’s sympathetic treatment of other main characters makes it easy to empathise with them and to understand their longing to escape from the claustrophobia and, sometimes, brutality of Cumbrian rural life.  This theme of entrapment intensifies as the tension of the story builds to its sad climax.

For me, the appeal of this story is in the questions it raises.  Can extended academic life be a preparation for coping with the messy realities of human life?  What is the nature of love?  Can it be reduced to a mathematical formula which proves its truth?  Can escape really bring freedom?

Catherine Hall is a writer worth reading and I look forward to enjoying more of her work.”

Catherine Hall interviewed about Proof of Love.

Catherine Hall reads from Proof of Love.

Sarah Crown, judge for Fiction Uncovered 2011, on Proof of Love.



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