Cannon’s intense specificity captures a world in amber, permitting intimate access to the pantries, gardens and garages of Britain’s past ... The story is set in two decades, in 1967 and 1976. While each timeline features a disappearance — a baby and a middle-aged woman both go missing — these not-quite-palindromic years are less mirror images, more cause and effect ... Cannon is a mapmaker; her stories create an atlas. Through Tilly and Grace’s investigations, points are plotted ... Fear is contagious in small spaces. Common –– denominator fictions rule. Cannon’s book is so timely.
The English housing estate at the center of Joanna Cannon’s unique and unforgettable debut The Trouble With Goats and Sheep is a familiar-seeming 1970s suburb 'joined together by tedium and curiosity: passing other people’s misery around . . . like a parcel' ... Ms. Cannon’s craftily constructed puzzler moves between Grace’s first-person narrative and omniscient third-person observation of other citizens who prove emotionally stunted or morally weak ...a closed-community mystery not just in an Agatha Christie sense but in the more ambitious J.B. Priestley manner: a spiritual parable whose larger questions echo even after being answered.
This ambitious debut novel takes place on The Avenue, an ordinary suburban street, during the blistering summer of 1976. When Margaret Creasy, pensioner and wife, disappears her neighbours search for an answer ... Set against their fierce gossip is the voice of Grace, the exuberant and curious 10-year-old narrator, who sets out with her best friend Tilly on a quest in search of God. Through the eyes of Grace, Joanna Cannon discovers a sense of unbelonging in all of her characters and forces us to reflect on the readiness with which we default to blaming others.