“Cider with Rosie”, by Laurie Lee, is one of those. First published in 1959, it is a lyrical childhood memoir of a way of life in rural England that has gone forever.
Lee begins his chronicle with his arrival in the Cotswold village of Slad at the age of three with his mother and siblings during World War 1. He writes: “I belonged to that generation which saw, by chance, the end of a thousand years’ life. The change came late to our Cotswold valley, didn’t really show itself till the late 1920s; I was twelve by then, but during that handful of years I witnessed the whole thing happen.”
It is an affectionate and mostly gentle story, though at times it reflects the harder aspects of remote rural life. It isn’t a page-turner but the picture it paints is compelling and appealing. More than six million copies have been sold, which puts it in very special company.