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The Last Summer of the Water Strider
by Tim Lott
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A captivating 1970s-set novel that is both a coming-of-age and an End-of-an-Age story: about love, the lure of idealism, innocence and decadence. Adam is seventeen, the only son of straitlaced, cautious Ray and Evie. Life is slow, unbearably routine, in their low-rise council block in the London suburbs, until tragedy strikes, leaving Adam unhinged with grief. Rejecting any consolation at home, Adam is sent to spend the long hot 1970s summer with Ray's unlikely brother, the enigmatic Dr Henry Templeton, guru and spiritual teacher. With few possessions and even fewer ambitions for his future, Adam arrives at his uncle's houseboat in the West Country. Henry is charismatic, unfamiliar, full of eccentric ideas and projects. As the summer unspools, Adam meets first Strawberry, an ethereal American girl living in a shack in the woods; and then Ashley, whose father, the local vicar, is locked in conflict with Henry and his circle's 'alternative' way of life. While Adam falls under the spell of pretty, knowing Ashley, Henry, set on pursuing his personal vision unbendingly, seals the shocking fate of Strawberry, Adam and ultimately himself.
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