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"Easily the most brilliant fiction I've seen this year -- it proves the potential brilliance of the novel form."
-- John Fowles, author of The Magus
Observatory Mansions, once the Orme family's magnificent ancestral home set on beautiful grounds, is now a crumbling apartment block stranded on a traffic island, peopled with eccentrics.
Thirty-seven-year-old Francis Orme lives in Observatory Mansions with his peculiar parents and a collection of misfits. By day he is a street performer, earning money as "a statue of whiteness" in the park, wearing white gloves to ensure that his skin never touches anything. He steals items for his museum of significant objects (996 in all), not for their monetary value but because they have been loved, often bringing grief to their erstwhile owners. His bedridden mother, Alice, who has created for herself an alternative time frame called "fiction," and his father, Francis, are among the occupants set apart from the rest of the busy city by their histories, their memories, and their relationships with the other seven inhabitants of the flats.
Each of the house dwellers has his or her own story, as seen through Francis's eyes, and the careful routine and harmony of the house are shaken when along comes a new resident, the half-blind, vulnerable Anna Tap. She is sympathetic and resourceful, and slowly the desperately lonely residents begin to open up their long-closed hearts. As the delicate balance of Observatory Mansions begins to shift, Francis finds himself having to protect the secrets of his past and the sanctity of his collection, while growing emotionally closer to Anna.
Hailed as no less than a tour de force, Observatory Mansions is a debut novel of immense originality--a strangely haunting landscape occupied by compelling and unforgettable characters.
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"Edward Carey has an imagination of tremendous range and power.
He transforms the familiar stuff of life into shapes utterly strange and
marvelous. This is a novel of truly startling originality."
-- Patrick McGrath
"Observatory Mansions is a striking debut, not simply for the skill with which it conjures its bizarrerie but for the way it wrings pity from an incredible setting. When Carey alternates the reveries and recollections of his narrator's parents, the resulting fugue is a tour de force."
-- Times Literary Supplement
"The humor and ingenuity with which Carey presents his characters and the entropic universe which surrounds them are reminiscent not only of
Beckett, but also of Georges Perec. . . . In his world, there are no ordinary people; everyone is a seething mass of repressed desires, murderous impulses, and obsessive-compulsive tics. While this view of human nature might sound disturbing, it is conveyed with so much sympathy and acute observation that it is hard not to be beguiled. Far from being grotesques, the other tenants of Carey's lovingly built microcosm come across as rather admirable in their last-ditch resistance to the forces of conventional reality."
-- The Times (London)
"With this extraordinary character, and the appealingly deranged inhabitants of Observatory Mansions, Carey has created an imaginary world brimming with the weird, the wonderful, and the unexpected."
-- The Guardian
"Carey is nothing short of a genius. . . . Brilliant."
-- Daily Mail
EDWARD CAREY is a playwright and illustrator in London. This is his first novel.
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Book Description Crown. Hardcover. Condition: New. 0609606808 Ships promptly from Texas. Seller Inventory # Z0609606808ZN
Book Description Crown, 2001. Hardcover. Condition: New. Seller Inventory # DADAX0609606808
Book Description Crown, 2001. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M0609606808
Book Description Crown, 2001. Hardcover. Condition: New. Never used!. Seller Inventory # P110609606808