The Paper Lantern by Will Burns audiobook review – a compelling contemplation of country life

Community, class and the proliferation of men called Pete at the pub are explored as we follow our narrator on his daily walks in the countryside

The debut novel from poet Will Burns is set in the early months of the pandemic in an English market town that “insists on being called a village”. Named after the pub where the narrator lives and works with his parents, the book provides compelling portraits of the landscape, the town and its residents, many of whom propped up the Paper Lantern’s bar before lockdown.

We follow our unnamed protagonist on his daily walks along roads, footpaths and rivers, during which he finds himself “living a kind of dream-life”. He contemplates community, class, local history and how it is that a country pub can be frequented by so many men called Pete.

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