Tug of War

Catherine Forde



Apr 2007

Based around the true life experiences of her grandmother, dual influences are played out in Catherine Forde’s latest novel, ‘Tug of War’. Set in the near future, the book sees the United Kingdom subject to repeated and increasingly endangering attacks from terrorism. Ship building in Glasgow makes the city a particular target, thus it is that that siblings John and Molly are preparing to be evacuated to safety.
Experiences for the two siblings from this point forth could scarcely be more divergent. John is evacuated to Mr Nott’s where he is abused and used as forced labour. Molly meanwhile is ‘molly’-coddled by the excesses of Pernilla, a larger than life, glamorous individual who teaches at the local school and is keen to lavish upon her evacuee the source behind each of her every whim and desire. Personal intent behind this becomes increasingly clear as Pernilla’s efforts to extend influence become ever more overt and desperate.
Caught between her own mother and Pernilla who, unable to have children of her own, is keen to adopt Molly and is most persuasive about the type of lifestyle she could expect with her, Molly faces a difficult choice . Town is played out versus country, modernity versus the pastoral, indusrial versus agricultural and emotional versus materialism as Molly is forced to assess what is important to her.
Skilfully observed and rich in its emotional depth and charge, the importance of this book is its ability to stimulate real consideration as to the modern meaning and worth of family ties in the develoment of childhood.

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