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My wife of more than forty-five years shot herself yesterday afternoon. At least that is what the police assume, and I am playing the part of grieving widower with enthusiasm and success. Of course I know that she did nothing of the kind....It was I who killed her.
With this startling confession of murder, James Farrell, the seventy-year-old narrator of THE DROWNING PEOPLE, takes the reader on a long journey into the past, a maelstrom of deeply buried secrets and betrayals, that reveals the ferocious, frightening power of first love. For it was decades ago that James and a young woman named Ella Harcourt fell cataclysmically in love -- and unwittingly set off a chain of events that would reverberate violently for years to come.
Heralded as one of the most electrifying international literary debuts in years, THE DROWNING PEOPLE introduces us to an extraordinary new voice from an exciting young author.
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"My wife of more than forty-five years shot herself yesterday afternoon. At least that is what the police assume, and I am playing the part of grieving widower with enthusiasm and success... It was I who killed her." Thus begins the much-hyped first novel by 20-year-old Oxford undergraduate Richard Mason. Your typical murder mystery The Drowning People is not, for we are given the identity of the killer--the who--immediately. The puzzle in this introspective novel is why--why did 70-year-old James Farrell murder his aristocratic wife, Sarah? The answer lies nearly 50 years into the past as the book ranges from Prague to London, from France to a remote castle in Cornwall. At its core is an intoxicating love affair between 22-year-old James, a talented violinist and hopeless romantic, and Ella Harewood, an American heiress to an English title, trapped by her heritage and destiny. A beautifully written exploration of self-absorbed first love and its tragic consequences, The Drowning People soars beyond the highest of expectations placed upon it. --Shannon Bingham, Amazon.co.ukFrom the Inside Flap:
So begins The Drowning People, an extraordinary debut novel by a twenty-year-old Oxford student.
When he first lays eyes on her sitting by the Thames, James Farrell, an aspiring violinist, falls instantly in love with Ella Harewood, a young and beautiful society girl engaged to a Cambridge don. Defying the strict social standards of upper-class England, the two carry on a passionate affair, believing that the burning power of their love will justify all their actions, guarantee them a life of happiness, and keep them on top of the world.
But the heady rush of first love threatens to ruin their lives forever. In the ultimate test of loyalty, Ella forces James to violently betray his best friend, and, in doing so, sets off a chain of events that will lead to murder and bitter revenge.
Written with wisdom beyond the author's years, The Drowning People is both a trenchant portrayal of the British upper class and a passionate story about the limits of friendship, the legacy of family, and the volatile power of first love.
"I see her fumble absently in her bag for a cigarette, watch her light it, and follow silver-grey smoke circles upwards to a pale blue sky. The park is noticeably warmer now; people are trickling in, and as they pass they cannot help but look at us, an odd pair under the trees. I can smell the faint odour of sweet perfume and soap and stale cigarette smoke which surrounds her; can hear the click of her lighter flint as she makes a flame; can see, as she holds her cigarette, that one of her nails is bitten to the quick.
"Have you been out here all night?" I ask.
She nods, with a little tightening of pale lips. "Oh yes," she says. "This bench and I are old friends. It's heard more of my secrets than it cares to remember, I suspect."
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Book Description Michael Joseph, London, 1999. Hardcover. Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. 1st Edition. First edition first printing of this author's first novel. SIGNED by the author on the title page. In fine / fine unread condition. Language: eng. Signed by Author(s). Seller Inventory # 12861