“I thought I could write my way out of this, but I’m just writing my way further in”
A daringly entertaining debut about the nature of a good life, and a good death
SHORTLISTED FOR THE AUTHORS’ CLUB BEST FIRST NOVEL AWARD
SHORTLISTED FOR THE McKITTERICK PRIZE
Dr James Darke has expelled himself from the world. He writes compulsively in his ‘coming of old age’ journal; he eats little, drinks and smokes a lot; he tries to console himself with the wisdom of the great thinkers and poets, yet finds nothing but disappointment. But cracks of light start to appear in his carefully managed darkness - the tender, bruised filaments of love for his daughter and grandson.
With scalding prose, ruthless intelligence and an unforgettably vivid protagonist, Darke confronts some of humanity’s greatest and most uncomfortable questions about how we choose to live, and to die.
“An original and bleakly funny portrait of grief”
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“A supreme example of a natural and skilled storyteller”
“Surprising … with a warmth that is genuinely and unexpectedly moving”
“A wondrous book with two fathers, Kingsley Amis and Dante”
“Makes for dark, thrilling reading … In James Darke, Gekoski has created a powerful, raging voice”
Rick Gekoski is a writer, rare-book dealer and former academic. He has written several widely praised non-fiction books including Staying Up, Tolkien’s Gown, Outside of a Dog and Lost, Stolen or Shredded. This is his first novel.
In 2005 he was one of the judges for the Man Booker Prize, and was then chair of the judges for the Man Booker International Prize 2011. He teaches creative non-fiction for the Arvon Foundation and sits on their Development Board. In 2014 he was elected a Lifetime Honorary Vice-President of English PEN.