Winner of the European Union Literature Prize, Peter Terrin's The Guard is a haunting novel of perceived oppression by the an omnipresent, but unknown, authority.
In the near future, Harry and Michel live in the basement of a luxury apartment block, guarding the inhabitants. No one goes outside. The world might be at war, it might even have been plunged into nuclear winter. No one knows.
But one weekend, all of the residents leave the block, one by one. All but the man on floor 29. Harry and Michel stick to their posts. All they know, all they can hope for, is that if they are vigilant, the "Organization" will reward them with a promotion to an elite cadre of security officers. But what if there were no one left to guard?
Playing on our darkest fears, The Guard is a tautly observed novel by a writer of striking and stylish originality.
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Flemish novellist Peter Terrin has been described as "a master of ominous detail" and is considered by critics to be a literary maverick, a classic writer who doesn't follow trends, and a masterful stylist. He has also written for the theatre and is active as a columnist. Terrin was the recipient of the European Union Literature prize and has been nominated for major literary awards several times, including the AKO Literature, Libris Literature, and the West Flanders Prizes for Literature.Review:
"The Guard is a novel that leaves you astonished with its beauty and completeness."―NRC Handelsblad
"The Guard is a sublime book... a brilliantly told story."―Karin Overmars, Het Parool
"The Guard is so good, its world so minutely described and Michel so undeniably compelling that to suggest anything other than to pick this up and read it immediately would be to do it a disservice."―SciFi Now
"A mix of psychological thriller and SF fable, this strange, wonderfully claustrophobic novel."―John O'Connell, The Guardian
"A rich and gripping mix of all the ingredients that make for a truly haunting atmosphere."―Valeria Melchioretto, Writers' Hub
â??There's a cold and beautiful precision to Peter Terrin's writing, and a remorselessness and finally terrifying accretion of detail that begins by seeming fussy and ends by being unsettling."―SFX
"Terrin tells a strongly allegorical story of 21st-century society, which holds the reader under its spell... The Guard is not only an enthralling psychological novel, it is also a love story, one which encompasses oppressiveness, emotion and explicit sensuality."―from the European Union Literature Prize citation
"Terrin wastes no time sucking the audience into the narrative... you simply won't want to put the book down until you find out exactly what's going on."―Joe Royce, Starburst Magazine
"Terrin's wonderfully sinister, darkly funny novel owes more to this genre than to simple SF. Guards Harry and narrator Michel keep watch in a tower block basement as the 'New War' empties the city. Many twists ensue. Finely translated (from Dutch) by David Colmer, the deadpan, exact, discomfiting prose keeps an icy grip."―Boyd Tonkin, The Independent
"This is a tremendous novel, often horrifically funny and always unsettling. Most emphatically, though, it is a European novel, articulating the cultural situation of a Flanders-born writer looking to Dutch literature while retaining a powerful awareness of Belgium's surrealist traditions."―Eileen Battersby, The Irish Times
"Webs of Pinteresque paranoia... Effectively horrid."―David Langford, The Sunday Telegraph
"Terrin has enriched Flemish literature with a clever novel about modern, yet simultaneously universal, paranoia that ends in a perfect psychological pas de deux."―De Morgen
"Science fiction meets Samuel Beckett in this Godot-like tale . . . a disarming allegory for the conflict-ridden, anxiety-producing times we live in."
"Chillingly claustrophobic and ominous . . . what develops into the existential love story between Michel and Harry, the postmodern grandkids of Vladimir and Estragon (if not Stan and Ollie), gains a genuine poignancy."―Locus
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