Book review – The Pools by Bethan Roberts

The Pools coverReviewed by Ben Macnair.

The Pools examines the aftermath of the death of a 15-year-old boy, Robert, and the repercussions the event has on people involved with the boy’s life.

The novel is set in a small town in middle England, in the mid-1980s, where nothing seems to happen. The teenagers endure terminal boredom, and when not at school talk about nothing in particular.

The characters of the parents are distinctly well drawn, and Bethan’s handling of the courtship of Robert’s parents, Kathryn and Howard, reveals the foundation to their lives together.

Howard works at the local power station, while Kathryn is a librarian, and their quiet domestic existence of work, home, and the garden, which is Howard’s pride and joy, is bought into sharp relief by the arrival of their son Robert. Continue reading