93. How Far Can You Go? David Lodge (1980)

I’ve read a lot of David Lodge’s novels, notably the ‘campus trilogy’ that commences with Changing Places, but this is my favourite. It’s about a group of friends who meet at university in the 50s and grow up together over the next couple of decades, negotiating changes both personal and social along the way. Crucially, they’re all catholics, and the focal event of the novel is the Second Vatican Council which suddenly rewrites the rules. It’s a refreshing take on the coming-of-age-in-the-sixties novel, and it takes an intelligent view of religion, which is rare. Anyone vaguely familiar with my own work will know that the themes and structure of How Far Can You Go? would greatly appeal; also, like all Lodge’s work, it’s very funny, which I realise is one of my major requirements in a novel. The fact that it’s set around the University of London, where I studied, is a big plus.

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Filed under My top 100 novels

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