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This question was answered on Mon 28, Aug 2017 02:21pm by sallievern

Question: ANSWERED British book about a family hoarding in 1970/80s recession or food shortage

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Asked by elvis80 on Sun 27, Aug 2017 05:12am :
I'm looking for the name of a YHA book I read at school. It was about a
family, with several children, whose father moves them to a big old house
on the outskirts of their town, without consulting them or their mother. He
can see that a recession is coming and begins to stockpile and hoard food
and essentials. The children think he might be going mad, but in time
realise he's predicted an upcoming recession and food shortage. The
government begin to outlaw hoarding. The children face the moral dilemma
about their father's hoarding and eventuallĺy people fund out about
the father's hoarding and come to the house.

Then...I don't know what happened as I moved schools!  Would love to finish
reading this book. I read it c.1990, but I think it was written in the late
1970s (given the subject and I think the cover had people in flares on it).
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Answer by sallievern on Mon 28, Aug 2017 02:21pm:
"Noah's Castle" by John Rowe Townsend
Another departure for Townsend, but in a different direction from that of
his enigmatic Forest of the Night (1975). In fact, the difficulty here is
oversimplification of characters and issues. Except for the vaguely upbeat
ending (a promised rescue from abroad), this resembles those topical adult
novels about The Bomb or falling dominoes which attract wide attention as
scenarios of disaster but are awkward and thin as fiction. It takes place
in a very near future--too near reality (especially for British readers) to
be dismissed--when inflation becomes so wild that price tags change daily,
money becomes worthless and food almost impossible to come by, and those
increasing numbers who are not ""in work"" near starvation. But Barry's
autocratic, shopkeeper father prides himself on having anticipated
conditions, having moved his family into a remote, forbidding house which,
Barry gradually discovers, he is stocking with canned goods purchased (like
the house) with borrowed money. The morality of hoarding while others go
hungry is debated repeatedly, with various characters representing a range
of viewpoints, but the argument is never developed as the story proceeds to
a free-for-all ending with father and sons standing watch behind sandbags,
three different raiding parties colliding on the same night, and the
precious supplies carded off at last by the fiercest of them. Family
members and their relationships are heavily outlined as are the moral
positions, and though Barry's dilemma has obvious relevance for all of us
hoarders, Townsend's easy certainty discourages exploration."

As England descends into economic chaos, sixteen-year-old Barry Mortimer's
life turns upside down when his father moves the family from their cozy
home in the city to a grim, brick mansion on the outskirts of town.

Why isn't anyone allowed to visit the Mortimers' new home? What is Father
doing in the cellar and why is he keeping it a secret?

As rumors of skyrocketing prices and food shortages become reality, Barry's
world begins to crumble. Can his family hold together as a nation collapses
around them?

Terrifying because it could happen tomorrow..."

» Promoted from comment «


Comment by elvis80 on Sun 27, Aug 2017 09:13am:
Fantastic!  Thanks so much. Can't believe it's been identified so
quickly when all my googling came to nothing. Thanks again!


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