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‘Proof Positive’ by Lucy V Hay

An essential criterion for any good book – as it is for any good poem – is that it should say something important about the human condition in a powerful way. 'Proof Positive' does that from the beginning. I have rarely read an opening chapter so powerful and profound. Lucy Hay has a sharp eye for telling detail and an almost pathological awareness of the discrepancy between human potential and actual achievement within the constricting contexts of family and social class. It hurts like ‘Hamlet’, and Alan Bennett’s ‘Talking Heads’. The action is intimately observed, each character scrupulously and minutely...

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