Tales of the Suburbs, Justin David, book review: ‘Vivid storytelling full of sharp detail’

Author Justin David. Photograph: courtesy Inkandescent

The 1980s turns into the 1990s, and orange carpet gives way to white tile in the bathrooms of suburban West Midlands.

At the around this time, social attitudes also gradually loosen.

As a gay boy growing up in the 1980s in the fictitious town of Welston, Jamie’s life had been infused with the warmth of a loving family, together with tension around his knack for knitting.

Things have moved on when he returns a decade later, sort of.

Tales of the Suburbs by Justin David is composed in seven interlinked stories set at various points in Jamie’s early life, from childhood to his completion of art school in London.

Together the snapshots paint a picture of a journey away and back that many readers will recognise.

David is half of the duo that run Hackney-based Inkandescent Press.

This book, which is part of a series set in Welston, evokes the odd surrealism that so many of us experience when we return to our childhood homes.

The place seems alien to our current lives, yet there are odd similarities that we had not previously noticed.

Told with humour and poise, these sketches depict social change and personal development at a time when values and lifestyles on the UK were rapidly evolving.

There is a ‘lest we not forget’ feeling to the narrative, but most of all there is vivid storytelling full of sharp detail.

Tales of the Suburbs by Justin David is published by Inkandescent, 2023, ISBN: 978-1-912620-24-1; RRP: £9.99.