From Publishers Weekly
A listless part-time teacher and writer of pornographic novels helps his elderly father quench a decades-old thirst for revenge in Duncan's sixth novel (after Death of an Ordinary Man
). Anglo-Indian narrator Owen Monroe, long accustomed to his quasi-bohemian lifestyle in contemporary London, has been hearing from his father, Ross, for years about the devious Skinner, the English con man who, decades before, ruined Ross's Olympic boxing dreams. Though Skinner disappeared, Ross has never given up hope of finding him, but it is Owen's chance discovery in a library (a novel by a pseudonymous author Owen and Ross believe to be Skinner) that finally gives them a lead. Posing as a literary scholar, Owen tries to arrange an interview with the author, but ends up instead in bed (repeatedly) with the author's daughter, Janet. As Owen continues his investigation, Duncan cuts back to pre- and post-partition India, where Ross, a railroad worker, first encounters Skinner and eventually becomes unwisely involved in a scheme to boost freight from a train Ross and his longtime friend Eugene work on. The plan's consequences are far-reaching for all involved and propel the novel toward a surprisingly anticlimactic conclusion. Though the narrative sometimes feels coyly deceptive, Duncan's polished, merciless and frequently hilarious prose supplies a trove of pleasures all its own. (Aug.)
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“Duncan’s polished, merciless, and frequently hilarious prose supplies a trove of pleasures all its own.” (Publishers Weekly)
“He is a major writer” (The Independent on Sunday)
“An appallingly intelligent writer” (The Guardian)
Superb...Perhaps this book will finally bring him the mainstream recognition he deserves. (Arena)
‘Richly satisfying. Duncan manages to fuse racial and personal dislocation beautifully in this long, seductive narrative....A terrific yarn.’ (The Independent on Sunday)
[A] sprawling, ambitious work…it loops back and forth through history with remarkable lucidity… ultimately very moving.’ (Alfred Hickling, The Guardian)
“A vigorous roman à ghee, reminiscent at turns of Vikram Seth, Zadie Smith and Douglas Coupland.” (Kirkus Reviews)