Something to Answer for, Paperback Book

Something to Answer for Paperback

3 out of 5 (1 rating)


P.H. Newby's seventeenth novel Something To Answer For was assured of a place in literary history when it won the inaugural Booker Prize in 1969.

It was 1956 and Townrow was in Port Said - of these two facts he is reasonably certain.

He had been summoned by the widow of his deceased friend Elie Khoury.

She is convinced Elie was murdered, but nobody seems to agree with her.

What of Leah Strauss, the mistress? And of the invading British paratroops? Only an Englishman, surely, would take for granted that the British would have behaved themselves.

In this disorientating world Townrow must reassess the rules by which he has been living his life - to wonder whether he, too, may have something to answer for? "Beautifully written, shot through with crisp, mordant wit, and Newby plays out his narrative with consummate skill". (Sam Jordison, Guardian).


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It is always interesting to read Booker winners but I have rather mixed feelings about this one (the first). At face value it reads like a comic picaresque dream story, a confusing narrative set in Egypt during the Suez crisis, but it addresses wider issues of responsibility, national identity and the end of the British empire.

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