Last Days in Cleaver Square (Hardback)Patrick McGrath (author)
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Grippingly crafted and full of emotion, Last Days in Cleaver Square weaves a compelling portrayal of a Spanish Civil War veteran approaching the end of his life and haunted by a moment of betrayal buried deep in his past.
'An atmospheric novel, with a magnificently unreliable narrator . . . McGrath is a connoisseur of this literary tradition.' Financial Times
'The pleasure in a Patrick McGrath novel is the travelling, not the arrival, and this is a rare novel that has pleasure on every page.' The Times
'Unfailingly deft in his handling of trauma and deceit.' Guardian
'Let there be no more of this clucking and wheedling. Oh Pa, are you sure? Or: Oh Francis, is this really a good idea? Let me be clear. I am always sure, and it is always a good idea.'
An old man is sleeping fitfully. It's too hot. The air is thick with Spanish Jasmine floating in from his overgrown garden. And he's not sure whether he'll be woken by General Franco sitting on the end of his bed.
It's 1975 and Francis McNulty is nearing the end of his life but feeling far from peaceful. A veteran of the Spanish Civil War, he is tormented by grief and guilt about a brief, terrible act of betrayal from that time; and he's started seeing his old nemesis on the street, in the garden and now in his bedroom. Neither he nor his daughter Gillian, who lives with him in Cleaver square, know what to do.
When Gillian announces her impending marriage to a senior civil servant, Francis realises that he must adapt to new circumstances - and that the time has come to confront his past once and for all.
'McGrath is a conjuror of fine detail . . . a master of the unreliable narrator - the best in the business.' JOHN SELF, The Times
'Wonderful. So atmospheric, engaging and engrossing . . . all the characters and relationships were superb.' CATHY RETZENBRINK
'This is a wonderful, thrilling novel . . . in Last Days in Cleaver Square McGrath has broken through to new depths of insight and emotion.' JOHN BANVILLE
'It has a wonderful otherworldly quality that keeps you turning the pages . . I can't think of anything else quite like it. It weaves a kind of spell.' RACHEL JOYCE
Number of pages: 240
Weight: 351 g
Dimensions: 222 x 144 x 25 mm
McGrath expertly deploys some of his trademark elements . . . and is unfailingly deft in his handling of trauma and deceit. Tiny elements fleetingly present in the story return later on like a whole arsenal of Chekhov's guns to be duly discharged, or occasionally decommissioned. By its conclusion Last Days in Cleaver Square manages to pull off the impressive trick of being narratively coherent and satisfying, yet still true to the messy businesses of memory, ageing, guilt and how to tell the story of a life. * Guardian *
This is a wonderful, thrilling novel, based on a fascinating conceit. The story will hook you on the first page and hold you a willing captive until the end. Patrick McGrath writes with his accustomed control and clarity, but in Last Days in Cleaver Square he has broken through to new depths of insight and emotion. -- John Banville
Last Days in Cleaver Square has a wonderful otherworldly quality that keeps you turning the pages, without ever seeming implausible. I found myself drawn deeper and deeper into Francis McNulty's story, in much the same way he feels haunted by the strange ghost, and the past. I can't think of anything else quite like it. It weaves a kind of spell. And it's a very moving portrayal too of a complicated father-daughter relationship, neither of them fully able to break away. -- Rachel Joyce
An atmospheric novel, with a magnificently unreliable narrator, combining family comedy with harrowing themes of death and betrayal ... In the often-mannered first person prose, which is replete with panicky ejaculations, this book enjoys playing with the conventions of the ghost story, of tales of sensation and the supernatural ... McGrath is a connoisseur of this literary tradition. -- Miranda Green * Financial Times *
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