The time we have taken
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The straight line of history has led, and was always leading, to this day and they have all been lucky enough to be alive, right now, to greet the moment. One suburban morning in summer 1970, Peter van Rijn, proprietor of the television and wireless shop, realises that his suburb is 100 years old. He contacts the mayor, who assembles a committee, and celebrations are eagerly planned. That same morning, just a few streets way, Rita is awakened by a dream of her husband's snores. It is years since Vic moved north, and left their house of empty silences, yet his life remains bound up with hers. Their son, too, has moved on - Michael is at university, exploring new ideas and the heady world of grown-up love. Yet Rita still stubbornly stays in the old street, unable to imagine leaving the house she has tended so lovingly for so long. Instead she has taken on the care of another house as well - that of the widowed Mrs Webster, owner of the suburb's landmark factory, now in decline. As these lives entwine, and the committee commissions its centenary mural and prepares to commemorate progress, history - in the shape of the new, post-war generation represented by Michael and his friends - is heading straight for them..
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