One day, out of the blue, Henry Nagel inherits a sumptuous apartment in St John's Wood.
Divine intervention? Or his late father's love nest? Henry doesn't know, but he is glad to escape the North.
After nearly sixty years of angry disappointment, Henry's life is about to change.
Not that the ghosts of Henry's past are prepared to disappear without a struggle - his old school-friend and rival Osmond 'Hovis' Belkin, currently enjoying success in Hollywood; his tragic great aunt Marghanita for whom Henry once entertained a dangerous passion; and his father Izzi, upholsterer turned illusionist, fire-eater and origamist, whose shade Henry interrogates relentlessly.
But the present clamours as loudly as the past. His dyspeptic neighbour Lachlan wants his sympathy; Lachlan's sloppy red setter, Angus, wants a walk; and Moira, the waitress with the crooked smile and custard hair, seems to want him.
Kicking and screaming every inch of the way, Henry realises he might finally be falling in love.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 352 pages
- Publisher: Vintage Publishing
- Publication Date: 02/06/2005
- Category: Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)
- ISBN: 9780099472162
Showing 1 - 1 of 1 reviews.
Review by jlj
I got on to Jacobson before the Booker win, after reading a few stellar pieces (one in the Times magazine on older women, in particular). This, then, was my first Jacobson novel, after it caught my eye at my favourite second-hand bookshop. And while it has many, many fantastic moments, as a whole, it doesn't hang together well. Frankly, it's a slog at times, but does reward your perseverance. I can't recommend it for folks looking for their first taste of Jacobson, but I'm willing to bet I'll still appreciate it, long after I'm through his catalogue.