Home in British Working-Class Fiction offers a fresh take on British working-class writing that turns away from a masculinist, work-based understanding of class in favour of home, gender, domestic labour and the family kitchen. As Nicola Wilson shows, the history of the British working classes has often been written from the outside, with observers looking into the world of the inhabitants. Here Wilson engages with the long cultural history of this gaze and asks how ’home’ is represented in the writing of authors who come from a working-class background. Her book explores the depiction of home as a key emotional and material site in working-class writing from the Edwardian period through to the early 1990s. Wilson presents new readings of classic texts, including The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, Love on the Dole and Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, analyzing them alongside works by authors including James Hanley, Walter Brierley, Lewis Grassic Gibbon, Buchi Emecheta, Pat Barker, James Kelman and the rediscovered ’ex-mill girl novelist’ Ethel Carnie Holdsworth. Wilson's broad understanding of working-class writing allows her to incorporate figures typically ignored in this context, as she demonstrates the importance of home's role in the making and expression of class feeling and identity.
'Striking the right balance between social context, history and close reading, Wilson brings to life the work of authors who are still not read as much as they should be. Her book provides a fine account of "home" and the many ways in which it was observed and criticised from the early years of the twentieth century through to its close.' Andrzej Gasiorek, University of Birmingham, UK