Studies in Literature and Culture
Mother London: Peter Ackroyd’s Three Brothers
← 190 | 191 →Marta Komsta
[A]nd now he returned to that time when he wept for his mother under the cover ofLondon fog and darkness. He sat by the window all that afternoon, looking into the street,caught between fear and indecision. To whom could he turn?Peter Ackroyd, Three Brothers
Ackroyd’s latest novel, Three Brothers (2013), is an urban journey through the contemporary Londonscape which becomes a powerful presence in the lives of the narrative’s protagonists. The eponymous siblings, Harry, Daniel and Sam Hanway, born in Camden at the same hour, on the same day and month in three successive years, remain connected with one another through a series of events that reveals a distinct spatiotemporal pattern in Ackroyd’s narrative. Subsequently, the three lives delineated in the intertwining chapters are rooted in three distinct visions of the capital as the novel follows the Hanway brothers from childhood until death (with the exception of Sam, the youngest of siblings) against the multilayered background of the great city.2 Owing to his innate ruthlessness and unwavering ambition, Harry Hanway, the eldest of the siblings, becomes a successful London journalist and managing editor of an influential London newspaper, The Morning Chronicle.3 A born opportunist, Harry rises to the top of his profession by means of manipulation and hypocrisy as well as personal connections – he marries Guinevere Flaxman, the daughter of Martin Flaxman, the owner of The Morning Chronicle. Daniel Hanway, the middle of the three brothers, chooses a life in academia, first as a student...
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