Sparrow (Hardback)James Hynes (author)
A vibrant recreation of a Roman city on the cusp of Christianisation, Hynes' ravishing historical coming-of-age traces the path of a brothel-born orphan as he makes his way in a fragmented ancient world.
Sparrow tells the story of Jacob, son of no one, last survivor of an abandoned British Roman town. Raised in a brothel on the Spanish coast in the waning years of the Roman Empire, a boy of no known origin creates his own identity.
He is Sparrow, who sings without reason and can fly from trouble. His world is a kitchen, the herb-scented garden, then the loud and dangerous tavern, and finally the mysterious upstairs where the 'wolves' - prostitutes of every ethnic background from the far reaches of the empire - do their mysterious business.
When not being told stories by his beloved 'mother' Euterpe, he runs errands for her lover the cook, while trying to avoid the blows of their brutal overseer or the machinations of the chief wolf, Melpomene. A hard fate awaits Sparrow, one that involves suffering, murder, mayhem, and the scattering of the little community that has been his whole world.
Through meticulous research and bold imagination, Hynes brings the entirety of the Roman city of Carthago Nova - its markets, temples, taverns of the lowly and mansions of the rich - to vivid life. Sparrow recreates a lost world of the last of old pagan Rome as its codes and morals give way before the new religion of Christianity, and introduces readers to one of the most powerfully affecting and memorable characters of recent fiction.
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Number of pages: 464
Weight: 694 g
Dimensions: 241 x 165 x 45 mm
'Utterly engrossing, vivid, and honest, this coming of age story reaches across millennia to grab us by the throat.' - Emma Donoghue
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“Raised by Wolves”
Sparrow is raised in a brothel in a Roman coastal town. The slaves around him are his only family, though his days are hard he manages to find some happiness in his work and with his ‘mother’ who is one of the... More
“The songbird sings...”
James Hynes’s debut novel tells the tale of boy born into slavery and sold to a brothel in a provincial port of ancient Spain.
Amid his suffering, Jacob quietly reinvents himself as Sparrow: a songbird who is ‘not... More
“Visceral, profound and deeply moving”
Sparrow will rip you open and sew you back up again, deftly weaving together the philosophical inquisitions of Sparrow and his mother with the brutality they face everyday in the brothel where they are slaves. Hynes... More
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