'A stunningly good debut ... that will keep readers up all night' Steven Galloway, author of the Cellist of Sarajevo
'The novel has at its lodestone Brideshead Revisited. Donna Tartt's The Secret History is also in the DNA here ... Readers will find themselves transfixed by this richly drawn cast of characters' Independent
Bright, bookish Oscar Lowe has grown to love the quiet routine of his life as a care assistant at a Cambridge nursing home, until the fateful day when he is lured into King's College chapel by the otherworldly sound of an organ. There he meets and falls in love with Iris Bellwether and her privileged, eccentric clique, led by her brother Eden. A troubled but charismatic music prodigy, Eden convinces his sister and their friends to participate in a series of disturbing experiments. However, as the line between genius and madness begins to blur, Oscar fears that danger could await them all ...
Benjamin Wood's brilliant debut novel will delight fans of The Secret History and Never Let Me Go.
Praise for The Bellwether Revivals:
'Read it. Quite a debut' Patrick Neate
'Suffused with intelligence and integrity' Guardian
'Effortlessly vivid ... Wood's confident, sometimes creepy novel draws you in ... and then, once you're inside, holds on, ever tightening the grip' Independent on Sunday
'There's more than a hint of Donna Tartt's The Secret History about this novel … highly effective' Daily Mail
This novel begins with the denouement: two people lie dead, and a third sits nearby, barely breathing. After this gripping opener, Wood slows down way down to lure readers into the lives of the Bellwethers, a wealthy English family, through Oscar Lowe, a caregiver at a nursing home who is drawn into a chapel by Eden Bellwether's brilliant musicianship. There he meets Eden's sister, Iris, a lovely cellist and student of medicine. He becomes part of the siblings' group of friends, occasional guest at the estate, and boyfriend to Iris. This is no class polemic, but rather an exploration of obsession, denial, and loyalty, explored through Iris's concern over the emotional stability of her brother, who believes that his music can heal. Though Oscar, and then Iris, both experience Eden's beliefs firsthand, Iris persuades Oscar to engage an authority on Narcissistic Personality Disorder, with the hope of diagnosing Eden. As Oscar becomes more involved, Iris's commitment falters, and Eden's erratic behavior particularly his reaction to his parents' plan to sell the estate and move the family to France foreshadows inevitable tragedy. Some readers will wish that Wood had written with more energy, but in building both Oscar's character and his story with restraint verging on the austere, he has created a highly engaging debut.