The steamy squalor of modern India and a twenty-year-old mystery surrounding a young woman's death provide the setting for this brilliantly deceptive story about a genteel old man, his sensual young bride, and his brooding son. Twenty years after they let it, Rupert and his father Philip, accompanied by Philip's young wife Kirsti and their chauffeur Rajiv, return to India to make peace with their past. The little troupe proceeds by car through the bleak industrial suburbs of town they no longer recognize, a tour whose ultimate stop will be a visit to the grave of Rupert's mother. The heat and dust, the poverty of the peasants, and the hostility of the merchants all create a feeling of oppression that heightens the sense of loss felt by father and son. But beneath the surface there is another source of tension among the group of travellers-the barely suppressed sexual attraction Rupert feels toward his father's wife, in counterpoint to his growing sense of betrayal as recollections of the past, and of the mother who died when he was so young, accumulate. Through Rupert's point of view we see his father as frail, politely ineffectual, even a bit dotty-until the gradual revelations of the past merge with those of the present, and Philip reveals his own complex truth in the novel's surprising and powerful climax.
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Born in Switzerland, Francis King spent his childhood in India, where his father was a government official. While still an undergraduate at Oxford he published his first three novels. He then joined the British Council, working in Italy, Greece, Egypt, Finland and Japan, before he resigned to devote himself entirely to writing. For some years he was drama critic for the Sunday Telegraph and he reviewed fiction regularly for the Spectator. He won the Somerset Maugham Prize, the Katherine Mansfield Prize and the Yorkshire Post Novel of the Year Award for Act of Darkness (1983). His penultimate book, The Nick of Time, was long-listed for the 2003 Man Booker Prize. Francis King died in 2011.
"One of our great writers, of the calibre of Graham Greene and Nabokov." Beryl Bainbridge
A gifted British author, King (Act of Darkness) adds a deeply moving drama to the publisher's short-novel series. Impressive evocations of India, past and present, and compassionate awareness of human relationships pull readers into events related by Rupert Reynolds. With his frail, elderly father Philip and new, young stepmother, Kirsti, Rupert goes to the town in India that was home until the death of Philip's first wife, Irene. Twenty years after her death, the pilgrimage to Irene's grave awakens Rupert's memories of the mother he lost when he was eight and of doctor Jack MacKenzie, who was the understanding friend his remote father was not. As an adult, Rupert secretly considers Philip weak, a man who has accomplished nothing. Guilt over his unfilial contempt is magnified by Rupert's desire for Kirsti and her unwilled but helpless response. The painful situation is resolved in a surprising, unforgettable event that gives Rupert a true perspective of his father, a strong man concealed behind a reserved persona.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description Harper & Row, Publishers, 1988. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0060158751
Book Description Book Condition: Brand New. Book Condition: Brand New. Bookseller Inventory # 97800601587501.0
Book Description Harper & Row, Publishers, 1988. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 0060158751
Book Description Harper& Row, New York, New York, U.S.A., 1988. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. Proktor, Patrick (illustrator). 1st Edition. 8vo - over 7¾" - 9¾" tall. The Harper Short Novel Series. "The Steamy Squalor Of Modern India And A Twenty-Year-Old Mystery Surrounding A Young Woman's Death Provide The Setting For This Brilliantly Deceptive Story About A Genteel Old Man, His Sensual Young Bride, And His Brooding Son.". Bookseller Inventory # 17778