Chadwick, Charles 1932-

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Chadwick, Charles 1932-


Born July 31, 1932; son of Trevor McKenzie and Marjorie Charlotte Louisa Elton Chadwick; married Evelyn Ingeborg, January 23, 1965 (divorced, 1998); married Mary Christina Beatrice, September 28, 1999; children: James Manfred, Samuel Trevor John Teale. Education: Charterhouse, Trinity College, University of Toronto, B.A.


Home—25A Denning Rd., London NW3 1ST, England. Agent—Caroline Dawnay, PFD, Drury House, 34-43 Russell St., London WC2B 5HA, England.


Writer. Her Majesty's Overseas Civil Service (HMOCS), northern Rhodesia, 1958-64, lecturer, 1964, head of administrative training, staff college, Lusaka, Zambia, 1965-67, British Council, 1968-92, management services department, 1968-70, deputy representative, Kenya, 1970-73, deputy representative, Nigeria, 1973-75, regional director, Sao Paulo, Brazil, 1975-76, director of specialist tours department, 1976-80, provincial election supervisor, Zimbabwe, 1980, representative, Canada, 1981-88, director, Poland, 1989-92. Member of Commonwealth Observer Teams for the Ghanaian presidential elections, 1992, Pakistan National Assembly Elections, 1993, and Cameroon elections, 1997. Kwazulu-Natal Euro Union Election Union, South Africa, regional coordinator, 1994, FCO observer, Uganda elections, 1996, and OSCE supervisor, Bosnia elections, 1996. Hampstead School, governor, 1993-2001. Military service: Gloucestershire and Royal Leicester Regiment, 1950-52, became 2nd lieutenant.


It's All Right Now (novel), HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2005.


Novelist Charles Chadwick is a retired British civil servant whose lengthy career with Her Majesty's Overseas Civil Service (HMOCS) took him to points across the world, including Kenya, Brazil, Zimbabwe, Pakistan, Zambia, Nigeria, Poland, and Bosnia. He is the author of It's All Right Now, a lengthy novel of nearly 700 pages that he wrote over a period of twenty-eight years. Chadwick drew considerable attention as a debut novelist because of his age—seventy-two when the novel was published. The considerable six-figure advance that Chadwick received from HarperCollins also caused a stir in the publishing world. Chadwick's publishers, however, expressed a great deal of confidence in the novel. In Publishers Weekly, Judith Rosen quoted HarperCollins executive editor Tom Duggan as saying: "It doesn't feel like a first novel. It feels like a novel by a master who's been working for a generation."

It's All Right Now tells the story of Tom Ripple, a middle-aged, lower-middle-class Briton with a drab job, dreary marriage, and uninspiring relationship with his children. He loves puns and double entendres, and much of his conversation is filled with these verbal tricks. He prefers television movies and cheap paperback novels to interacting with his family. He is a bit of a lech, and enjoys watching the girls go by. In many ways, Ripple is selfish and shallow, intellectually unadventurous, satisfied at living a life defined by the lowest common denominator. He is "an everyman trying to articulate his thoughts perfectly and failing," noted Nick Greenslade in the Observer. The novel follows Ripple from the 1970s to his retirement, chronicling in painstaking detail the events of his life. Following retirement, Ripple's wife leaves him, and his children follow their own paths. Left alone, Ripple is faced with the prospect of forging a new life. Gradually he emerges from the smothering cocoon he had built around himself, learns to develop real friendships, appreciate fine music and literature, and experience the fullness and joy that can be found in the contemporary world around him.

Despite his faults, "Ripple is a painfully real and darkly comic creation," observed Claire Dederer in Entertainment Weekly. Chadwick takes risks with his narrative, noted a Publishers Weekly reviewer, and "brings [them] off with astute craftsmanship and touching sincerity." He "has caringly laid bare the mind of a surprisingly decent chump who has a remarkable capacity to do the right thing despite himself," observed People reviewer Allison Lynn. "Nothing much happens, but it does so with a world-weary elegance, full of wintry discontent," commented a Kirkus Reviews contributor, who concluded that the novel is "mature, knowing, and very well done." Booklist reviewer Joanne Wilkinson observed that "the real attraction of this moving novel … is the purity of its vision."



Booklist, April 15, 2005, Joanne Wilkinson, review of It's All Right Now, p. 1429.

Entertainment Weekly, June 3, 2003, Claire Dederer, review of It's All Right Now, p. 90.

Guardian (London, England), February 18, 2004, John Ezard, "Retired Civil Servant Strikes It Rich with Debut Novel, Thirty-two Years in the Writing," profile of Charles Chadwick.

Kirkus Reviews, April 15, 2005, review of It's All Right Now, p. 435.

M2 Best Books, February 18, 2004, "Ex-Civil Servant's Debut Novel Nets Major U.S. Advance."

New Yorker, June 6, 2005, review of It's All Right Now.

Observer (London, England), May 1, 2005, Nick Greenslade, "The Ripple Effect," review of It's All Right Now.

People, July 4, 2005, Allison Lynn, review of It's All Right Now, p. 43; December 26, 2005, "Books," Michelle Green, review of It's All Right Now, p. 55.

Publishers Weekly, January 19, 2004, John F. Baker, "A Debut Novel at Seventy-Two," profile of Charles Chadwick, p. 14; January 24, 2005, Judith Rosen, "Never Too Late," profile of Charles Chadwick, p. 116; March 14, 2005, review of It's All Right Now, p. 42.


Book Place, (April 14, 2006), biography of Charles Chadwick.