Last Days in Cleaver Square
FROM THE INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF ASYLUM, TRAUMA AND THE WARDROBE MISTRESS
‘Wonderful, thrilling’ JOHN BANVILLE
‘Has pleasure on every page’ TIMES
It’s 1975 and Francis McNulty, ageing poet, retired, is living in his childhood home in Cleaver Square with his daughter Gilly. Haunted by memories of the Spanish Civil War, in which he drove an ambulance, he sees awful visions of his old nemesis, General Franco, and is powerfully reminded of a terrible act of betrayal he committed in Spain. When Gilly announces her upcoming marriage, Francis is forced to confront his past, once and for all.
‘A very moving portrayal of a complicated father-daughter relationship, neither of them fully able to break away’ RACHEL JOYCE
It's not until you read a novel by Patrick McGrath that you remember how boring most books are. Even stories that keep readers turning the pages for the plot can be flatly told, and many first-person narrators have no individuality. Not so with McGrath, whose novels make a distinctive voice an essential part of the telling, and remind us that the bias of the teller is an integral element in any tale. Last Days in Cleaver Square is a passionate, tempest-tossed memoir by Francis McNulty - made up of equal parts what he's telling us and what he isn't . . . The narrative voice might be his ripest yet . . . 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 * 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. 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. 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. * Financial Times *
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