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When it isn't prison, it's hell. Or at least that's the heartfelt belief of conscripts Jonathan Browne and Mike 'Ginger' Brady. For this is the British Army in the days of National Service, a grimy deposit of post-war gloom. An endless round of kit layout, square-bashing, shepherd's pie 'made with real shepherds' and drills is relieved only by the occasional lecture on firearms or V.D. The reckless, impulsive Mike and the more pragmatic Jonathan adopt radically different attitudes to survive this two-year confiscation of their freedom, with dramatic consequences
David Lodge's novels include Changing Places (Hawthornden Prize), How Far Can You Go? (Whitbread Book of the Year), Small World ( Booker shortlisted), Nice Work (Sunday Express Book of the Year) and A Man of Parts. He has also written books of literary criticism, including The Art of Fiction. His works have been translated into 25 languages. He is Emeritus Professor of English Literature at Birmingham and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, was awarded a CBE and is also a Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.