Reading Around East Anglia

Following my nose, as I so often do picking books to read, I've been taking a tour of East Anglia.  I started with Jim Kelly's Philip Dryden crime novels set around the Norfolk town of Ely.  Now, with Esther Freud's The Sea House, I am a stone's throw away, Google Maps-wise, in Suffolk.

The story is set in a fictional coastal village, "Steerborough", (probably in the Minsmere area), which is near the fictional once-great wool-trade town of "Eastknoll", (clearly Dunwich), on the Suffolk coast.

East Anglia oozes history.  Kelly and Freud both write about its Anglo-Saxon past and archaeological finds.  It appears to be the produce capital of the UK.


Steerforth said...

I used to be horrible about East Anglia, but it's growing on me (not to the point where I'd ever live somewhere so flat, with a cold wind that penetrates even the thickest clothing).

It certainly was the produce capital of the UK during the medieval period, which is why so many small, inconsequential villages have ridiculously large, ornate churches, built with money from the wool trade.

One place I went to is the perfect picture postcard village. Apparently, it's so picturesque because the local economy went into a recession 500 years ago and there was never enough money for anyone to afford to build new houses, so it has been frozen in time.

I will have to investigate further.

Brett said...

Jim Kelly paints a pretty bleak picture of the Fens, much like the hill folk of Appalachia have been portrayed here: clannish, poor, uneducated. A rewatching of Waterland only confirms this view.

It reminds me of the charmless interior of South Florida, with its muck farms, cattle ranches and phosphate mines.

Freud's character, Lily, on the coast to study the house of a notable architect, takes pleasure in the wildlife, but the nearby town seems shabby and stagnant. Her architect boyfriend's partner tells her Suffolk jokes.