This is so sad. Greenwood tries so hard. It is all here; a beautiful mastery of English, hard times, and the ability to depict them. But Greenwood, born poor, brought up poor, self-educated simply tries too desperately hard to impress.
His writing is like a job applicant who knows he barely has a chance if he plays the flute while standing on his head.
Greenwood wrote many novels in his 30s and one imagines he was published by a middle class industry delighted by the chance to see the glimmer of hard struggle life between the wars in the industrial town of Manchester.
But it doesn't stand the test of time. Less than 50 years after publication it is simply too gritty to assimilate with any ease or pleasure. he does everything right and it ends up as everything wrong. 2/5