The Horses of Winter, Paperback Book

The Horses of Winter Paperback

Description

Winter came early that year. Freezing fog swept across London, knife-chill choking with cold and dirt, squeezing the hearts out of the dying, the weak-lunged, the old.

The antswarm of people moved gropingly through the fog-muddied streets, slowly and painfully as if they were walking through dirty water, hunched and scarved figures coughing sour grey sputum into glove-held handkerchiefs...But in the parks the snow lay on the grass as thick and smooth as cream, ribbed the boughs of trees and with white veins and hung on the weighted-down branches in heavy tresses.'First published 1968, the focus of A.

A. T. Davies' ambitious and hard-hitting novel is the relationship between Peter Keevil, disillusioned scholar and connoisseur of the perverse and the futile, and John Morann, sensualist and compulsive seducer.

Their live contrast, interlock and are finally centred on a special and violent crime; deliberate, chosen and callous.

For Morann this act is revenge the mutilated Anna, whose love had seemed pure and resusitating; for Keevil it provideds the liberation of a self-determined identity, that of the criminal. Their psychological race towards a mutual victim is tense and horrifying, and the result totally unexpected.

This is not a 'comfortable' book - Davies transfers the world of cruelty to the more conventional landscapes of London's East End, a Scottish island, and the suburban rugger club belt - and it will undoubtedly shock and disturb many readers.

Yet it will shock constructively in the way that Swift, Lawrence and Orwell do, for Davies is a writer whose bitterness of vision is complemented by a profound understanding of, and sympathy for, his characters, insight, humour, and a poet's feeling for words and images.

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