The New Life (Paperback)
  • The New Life (Paperback)

The New Life (Paperback)

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Paperback 400 Pages
Published: 11/01/2024
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Waterstones Says

A tender and powerful tale of passion, progress and personal freedom that re-imagines the lives of the two men who published the first English medical textbook on homosexuality, Crewe’s beautiful novel is filled with nuance and forensic insight into love.

Granta Best of Young British Novelists 2023

Winner of The Orwell Prize for Political Fiction 2023

Shortlisted for the Polari First Book Prize 2023

Shortlisted for the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction 2024

Winner of the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award 2023

Two Victorian marriages, two dangerous love affairs, one extraordinary partnership.

After a lifetime spent navigating his desires, John Addington, married to Catherine, has met Frank, a working-class printer.

Meanwhile Henry Ellis's wife Edith has fallen in love with Angelica - and Angelica wants Edith all to herself.

When in 1894 John and Henry decide to write a revolutionary book together, intended to challenge convention and the law, they are both caught in relationships stalked by guilt and shame. Yet they share a vision of a better world, one that will expand possibilities for men and women everywhere.

Their daring book threatens to throw John and Henry, and all those around them, into danger. How far should they go to win personal freedoms? And how high a price are they willing to pay for a new way of living?

Publisher: Vintage Publishing
ISBN: 9781529919714
Number of pages: 400
Weight: 266 g
Dimensions: 198 x 129 x 23 mm


I loved this book - Zadie Smith

Completely engrossed by this fascinating story of gay life in the London of the 1890’s. Beautifully written with fantastically complicated characters - Graham Norton

'Tom Crewe inhabits the minds, lives and bodies of his visionary late-nineteenth century characters with almost eerie precision and intensity. The result is subtle, sexy and beautifully crafted - a wonderful book' - Sarah Waters

It’s wonderful when a book lives up to all the praise and prizes. A fascinating story, so confidently told, with thoroughly real characters and agonising moral compromises. Brilliant! - Clare Chambers

'Clever and kind, The New Life is a book of wonderful generosity and compassion' - Alice Winn, author of In Memoriam

It is a pleasure to discover a young novelist with such a wise sensibility - and also, one who can construct such convincing characters. - Sunday Times

This is a corker... one of the literary debuts of the year - The Times, Books to Look Out For 2023*

'Extraordinary in its depiction of reform and liberalism in Britain in the late-1800s' - Jonathan Bailey, star of Bridgerton

The New Life is filled with nuance and tenderness, steeped in the atmosphere of late nineteenth century London, a world on the brink of social and sexual change. Tom Crewe's brilliant novel dramatizes the relationship between the visionary and the brave, charting the lives of men and women who inspired not only political progress but an entire new way of living and loving. - Colm Tóibín

'A beautifully written debut set in Victorian London... some of the best writing on desire I've read' - Douglas Stuart

[Tom Crewe is] a very fine new writer - Kate Atkinson

Electrifying. Tom Crewe's forensic love of the physical puts the body back into history and makes the past a living, changing place - Anne Enright

An excellent debut . . . It's extraordinary to think that this impeccably crafted, lyrically phrased and muscular book is Crewe's first . . . a brilliant evocation of the radical politics of turn-of-the-century Britain - Michael Donkor, Guardian

Emotionally vivid and erotically charged, The New Life brilliantly reveals a 'seething and boiling' world of 'loneliness and anger and lust,' as Crewe's complicated, compelling protagonists battle the restrictive mores of the day - Daily Mail

Powerful themes and lovingly polished prose . . . a fictional debut of rare quality and promise - Daily Telegraph

Intense and precise . . . It is refreshing to find any contemporary novel, let alone a debut, which is first and foremost one of ideas - Financial Times

[An] excellent new novel - Independent

'[An] intricate and finely crafted debut novel . . . The New Life brims with intelligence and insight, impressed with all the texture (and fog) of fin de siècle London' - New York Times

'Crewe distinguishes himself both as novelist and as historian . . . He has, more unusually, found a prose that can accommodate everything from the lofty to the romantic and the shamelessly sexy' - New Yorker

A once-in-a-generation talent - Johanna Thomas-Corr, chair of judges - Sunday Times Charlotte Aitken Young Writer of the Year Award

Unflinchingly bold . . . Crewe's language is striking in its originality, his protagonists are colourful and passionate, and their principles are brilliantly drawn - i paper

Sexy, cerebral and moving - Mail on Sunday

'Atmospheric . . . Extraordinary . . . Crewe's taut prose is shot through with descriptive vividness' - James Cahill, TLS

Exhilarating . . . An adroit novel of ethics - New Statesman

'Lyrical, piercing . . . The New Life is a fine-cut gem, its sentences buffed to a gleam . . . [Crewe's book] brims with élan and feeling, an ode to eros and a lost world, and a warning about the dangers ahead' - Hamilton Cain, Washington Post

'Crewe deserves applause for his vivid scene-setting . . . There's much to admire in this meticulously researched, boldly envisioned debut' - Prospect

'Nothing less than remarkable . . . A beautiful, brave book that reminds us of the terrible human cost of bigotry; this is a novel against forgetting' - Michael Schaub, Boston Globe

'Rich and engrossing . . . blending the graceful ambiguity of literary fiction with the deftness of a page-turner . . . A smart, sensual debut' - Kirkus (starred review)

A few established novelists continue to write first-class literary fiction on LGBTQ themes... The debut novel by Tom Crewe...reveals a new talent in the field. It is underpinned by extensive research... [with] a great story at its heart. - Literary Review

The New Life drives with a satisfying pace and a pleasing sense of both conclusion and open endings... how impressive it is that Crewe has synthesised a coherent and compelling fiction from his elements - Critic

LGBT+ Bookclub - hosted @ High St.

LGBT+ Bookclub - hosted @ High St.

Winchester - The Brooks
Monday 5th August 18:00

Join us for our 3rd LGBT+ bookclub meeting, hosted at our High St. branch


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““We must live in the future we hope to make”.”

‘New Life’ is one of the most accomplished and interesting historical debuts of 2023. It is about a book that is banned and declared obscene because of its subject matter.

The book’s two main characters were based... More

Hardback edition
Helpful? Upvote 41

“A moving and poignant LGBT novel”

Tom Crewe expertly weaves artistic license with real life events and figures to create a moving and poignant novel. Describing the unconventional lives and relationships of John Addington and Henry Ellis, Crewe tells... More

Hardback edition
Helpful? Upvote 31

“Elegant and Bold”

This is an excellent debut.

Complex, believable characters and a surprisingly riveting plot all brought together by an elegant writing style.

I think I'll be hard-pressed to find a more accomplished first novel... More

Hardback edition
2 similar books recommended
Helpful? Upvote 28

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