October 1st 2007
272 pages
Paperback original

Careless Talk by Michael Richardson

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Young Morley Charles worries that he’s just not clever enough for the city’s art school. But the lies he tells to advance himself in the eyes of friends, family and the local priest bring all manner of trouble. Imagine if Michael Frayn’s Spies had been set in Birmingham with the daftest, funniest, most self-deluding schoolboy at its heart. Well, here is Morley Charles again, the inventive and sexually curious hero of The Pig Bin, but now he has artistic ambitions and anxieties about links between his family and the Blackshirts. Careless Talk is a glorious comedy of misunderstandings set in a seemingly ordinary end-of-wartime suburb.

The dialogue is brilliantly lively and the period scene setting beautifully rendered; it can make you laugh out loud


A moving and often very funny account of the painful adolescence of a young art student shortly after the end of World War II

David Nobbs (author of The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin)

A wonderfully warm and humorous evocation of a late 1940s Birmingham childhood, whose underlying sharpness never allows it to descend into simple nostalgia

D. J. Taylor

Richardson has a gift for idiomatic dialogue. But what is most impressive in these novels is the recreation of the class consciousness of the 1940s. Morley, who has won a place at an art school, is painfully aware that he comes from a municipal home, that he has only once used a telephone, and that his father is not an officer. There is comedy in his hapless efforts to find his way in the world, and psychological truth as well


Birmingham author Michael Richardson has been telling Stirrer TV about his new novel Careless Talk

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