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The Red Hat

John Bayley

9 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 071562802X / ISBN 13: 9780715628027
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Dan Pope Books
West Hartford, CT, U.S.A.

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AbeBooks Seller Since October 12, 2002

About this Item

St. Martins (New York), 1998. First American edition. New in dust jacket. A tight unread copy. 0.0. Bookseller Inventory # 2726

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Bibliographic Details

Title: The Red Hat

Binding: Hardcover

Dust Jacket Condition: Dust Jacket Included

Edition: F....

About this title


Gender confusion and sexual foreplay abound in this absurdist, tantalizing mystery--the American fiction debut of one of our greatest literary critics. A trio of travelers journeys to the Hague for a Vermeer exhibition, and unwittingly becomes involved in an international terrorist plot.


The Red Hat in question in John Bayley's novel is the headgear worn by a young woman in a Vermeer masterpiece; it is also the McGuffin that gets the plot rolling. At the center of Bayley's tale is Nancy Deverell, a rather androgynous young woman who travels from London to the Netherlands with two friends to view the Vermeer exhibition. Nancy's companions are Charles, a gay man, and Chloe, Nancy's best friend and Charles's fiancée. Once at the exhibition, Nancy realizes she could be the twin of the woman in Vermeer's Girl in a Red Hat. Before you can say chapeau, Nancy finds herself involved with a mysterious stranger who might be a secret agent or possibly a bellboy and up to her neck in kidnapping, terrorism, and murder--or maybe not. Bayley, a leading British critic, plays an energetic literary shell game with his characters which may have fans of postmodern fiction clamoring for more.

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