Three thought-provoking novels from the Man Booker Prize–winning British novelist of This Sporting Life and “an absorbing writer” (The New Yorker).
The son of a coal miner who went on to play professionally in the rugby league, British author David Storey drew heavily on his own background for his debut novel, This Sporting Life, which won the 1960 Macmillan Fiction Award and was made into a film with Richard Harris. “The leading novelist of his generation,” Storey was also a playwright and screenwriter, going on to win the Man Booker Prize for his novel, Saville (The Daily Telegraph). Collected here, Storey’s characters range from a seventeen-year-old compulsive note writer to a seventy-year-old suicidal art historian and a middle-aged sports columnist, but they all share a common trait: a profound questioning of life’s meaning.
Thin-Ice Skater: An angst-ridden seventeen-year-old who shares intimate details of his life in the form of memos written to himself, Rick Audlin first goes to live with his much-older film producer half-brother, Gerry, whose second wife, Martha, a former movie star, has been committed to a mental institution. When Gerry has to go abroad, Rick moves in with his long-estranged other half-brother, James, a failed crime novelist, and is seduced by Clare, James’s wife. But Rick begins to realize something else is going on—something that will eventually lead him to a shattering secret in his family.
As It Happened: After a failed suicide attempt in front of a moving train, seventy-year-old art historian and professor emeritus Matthew Maddox attends art therapy classes, hoping to find meaning in his life. Although he feels isolated, Maddox does have his champions. Simone, his lover and partner, is returning from an analysts’ conference in Vienna. There is also his former mentor, whose wartime past fascinates Maddox; his older sister, Sarah; and his younger brother, Paul—and Eric Taylor, once his most promising student, now a convicted murderer, in whom Maddox sees echoes of his own life.
“A novel packed with argument and written with a close attention to the significance of gesture, the thing seen, the sound heard, the thought apprehended.” —The Scotsman
Present Times: Former playwright Frank Attercliffe cowrites a sports column about football and lives with his children in relative peace—until the night his wife, who left him three years ago for a car dealer, returns home and announces she wants to move back in. Just one catch—she wants Frank to move out.
“I enjoyed this book for its savagery, its stoically enduring hero, its taut, explosive dialogue.” —The Sunday Telegraph