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The Red Beach Hut by Lynn Michell

I've not had much time for reading recently, but this is the book that has been keeping me awake at night.  Absorbing from the first page, the prose is spare, conveying with the utmost delicacy the fragility of the characters’ situation and their states of mind.  Inspirational is an overused word these days, but this novel is just that. The Red Beach Hutis the story of an innocent, redemptive relationship between a man and a boy which is misinterpreted by onlookers with a prejudiced, tabloid mentality.

Abbott, the man, has crashed out of his professional role, burnt out, after being the victim of a  homophobic attack.  Neville is 8 years old and wanders the beach alone while his mother plays hostess to clients in their tiny flat - men he is afraid of  He is on the ‘at risk’ register.

The setting - an ordinary seaside town with its row of colourful beach huts along the shore - is also a character in the book - one that interacts with each of the other characters in turn. I could s…

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