In the Second Year, originally published in 1936, offers a vivid premonition of a British fascist regime only five years in the future, modelling its narrative on the events of Hitler’s second year in power and his Night of the Long Knives. As much a critique of Britain in 1936 as a warning of what might still be averted by determined action, the novel is not however a political tract but an eminently readable work of fiction. Its subtle characterisation and dramatic plotting distinguish it from left-wing formula novels of the 1930s, and underpin the shrewd analysis of contemporary states of mind left, right and centre, all of which are found wanting. Essential reading for anyone seeking to understand the interwar years, it is also, in the sheer power of its story-telling, an enthralling novel for the general reader, meriting comparison with such dystopian fictions as Nineteen Eighty-Four, Brave New World, and Rex Warner’s The Aerodrome. Considered by Jameson to be her best work, In the Second Year is, quite simply, a very good novel.It is scandal that, of the nearly seventy books written by socialist and feminist author, Margaret Storm Jameson (1891-1986), not one is currently in print. This reprinting of In the Second Year is long overdue, and rectifies in small part this state of affairs.
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