Secrets and Lives: Middle England Revealed

Secrets and Lives: Middle England Revealed
Published by Macmillan on 19th May 2005

“A Moving and eloquent record of the heroism of everyday life. We haven’t seen its like since Mayhew.” -Fay Weldon

Secrets and Lives: Middle England Revealed is a collection of 48 compelling true stories, each in the subjects’ own words, taken from three years of conversations with nearly 100 people from a typical English market town where the author herself grew up.

The result is a portrait of the English as has never been painted before. To some, Middle England is green-welly land, a culture of crickets and pearls and Range Rovers, where people go to church and vote Tory. Yet the people who reveal themselves so fully to Mary Loudon show that this is anything but true. The Middle England she so subtly exposes is an England of extremes and opposites: Middle England is, in fact, most of us. It emerges as a place, and a disposition, as bleak for some as it is privileged for others; as loathed as much as it is loved; as nostalgic as progressive. Potent, moving and unexpectedly shocking, Secrets And Lives will shatter the myth of small-town, harvest festival cosiness and rural bliss while reinforcing a universal human desire for love, security and community identity.

Through telling tales of their lives, her subjects speak of a whole century’s worth of emotion and experience, with unparalled candour. Morris dancing, hunting, selling shoes, taking drugs, standing for Mayor, getting divorced, contemplating suicide, forgiving the Japanese, turning your son in to the police, being the only Muslim in town. Being ordinary, being extraordinary, being invisible. Secrets and Lives is a totally unique, intimate and highly sensitive portrayal of other people’s lives, and the ways in which they may speak of our own.

More publications by Mary Loudon