By Tobias Hill
Published Mar 2014
London in the aftermath of war: children run wild on East End bombsites, while their elders strive for better lives in a country beggared by victory. Clarence and Bernadette Malcolm have come five thousand miles in search of prosperity, but find the Mother Country not at all as has been promised them; Solly and Dora Lazarus, too, are strangers in a strange land, struggling to belong even as they try to make sense of their past; and Michael and Mary Lockhart take with both hands all that the world owes them, wherever it leads them, whatever the cost. In the street markets and tenements of Bethnal Green the three families live and work together in uneasy harmony, until Michael shatters the balance between them, his hunger for betterment changing the courses of all their lives over decades and generations.
Reaching across forty years and capturing a city and a people in a time of tumultuous change, What Was Promised is a breathtaking novel by a master storyteller.
Hill is one of the two or three most original and interesting young novelists working in Britain today.
A. S. Byatt
Hill is among the most noticeable talents of his generation.
Independent on Sunday
Hill, who is also an accomplished poet, writes the kind of fiction that can change the way you look at the world.
Engage, and you’re hooked … Hill is that rarity, a novelist who gets better with every book. He makes reading a joy.