Book Review : The Northern Clemency by Philip Hensher

I was lucky enough to sit for one of Philip Hensher’s sessions at JLF otherwise I would have completely missed out on this writing. It’s full of flavour, details and you really feel part of the story.


The Northern Clemency chronicles the lives of a few families in a Sheffield neighbourhood through 20 years. It’s a testament to just how much economic, cultural changes bring about startling changes of it’s own within a community. There’s initially a lot of mystery about the Grover family which resolves quickly and it’s really the people involved and their reactions that sucks you in. In a way, it you can get a real sense of the cultural societal attitudes and values of England at that time and how things gradually change. It almost feels historical when you reflect on it.

If you like quick wit, good writing, details and love of slang, this is a great read.


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