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Tigerman by Nick Harkaway

Sarah Broadhurst's view...

Harkaway’s first novel The Gone Away World rather blew my mind and remains one of my favourites of all time. That was a work of fantasy. Tigerman is perhaps even more stunning as it is plausible. When events conspire and the pressure gets too much what would a good man do for his son? We’ve seen ‘Fathers for Justice’ climb towers, and this is really not so very different. The island of Mancreu needs a hero, someone has to step up so paternal love and high adventure are givens, but there is also political intrigue, some strange science and a touch of love story. It is a stunning work of literature with a very wide appeal from an author I love who will, I hope, continue to rise. Quirky characters, realistic trauma, impossible odds, I could go on and on about the layers of this book but it’s better if you go and read it for yourself.

If you like Nick Harkaway you might also like to read books by Neil Gaiman, Lev Grossman and Michael Chabon.

Who is Sarah Broadhurst


Tigerman by Nick Harkaway

Lester Ferris, sergeant of the British Army, is a good man in need of a rest. He's spent a lot of his life being shot at, and Afghanistan was the last stop on his road to exhaustion.

He has no family, he's nearly forty and burned out and about to be retired. The island of Mancreu is the ideal place for Lester to serve out his time. It's a former British colony in legal limbo, soon to be destroyed because of its very special version of toxic pollution - a down-at-heel, mildly larcenous backwater. Of course, that also makes Mancreu perfect for shady business, hence the Black Fleet of illicit ships lurking in the bay: listening stations, offshore hospitals, money laundering operations, drug factories and deniable torture centres. None of which should be a problem, because Lester's brief is to sit tight and turn a blind eye. But Lester Ferris has made a friend: a brilliant, Internet-addled street kid with a comicbook fixation who will need a home when the island dies - who might, Lester hopes, become an adopted son. Now, as Mancreu's small society tumbles into violence, the boy needs Lester to be more than just an observer. In the name of paternal love, Lester Ferris will do almost anything. And he's a soldier with a knack for bad places: almost anything could be a very great deal - even becoming some sort of hero. But this is Mancreu, and everything here is upside down. Just exactly what sort of hero will the boy need?

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Astonishing ... Grahma Greene would have treasured this book ... Nick Harkaway has all the writerly skills to pull it off. His Tigerman lives because of his wit and daring intelligence, and his empathy. Words quiver whenever he writes. Scotsman Nick Harkaway's novels inhabit a remarkably imaginative territory. He is J.G. Ballard's geeky younger brother, pumped up on steam-punk and pop culture, interested in the effects of modern life on our psyches; he is J.G. Farrell's grandson, poking at the ruins of civilization and seeing what comes out ...Harkaway writes with a precision that belies the fantastical nature of his plots ...Nick Harkaway manipulates and subverts conventions and archetypes. He has created something with all the hallmarks of the craftsmanship that he extols, making Tigerman a sly commentary on authorship and genre; and perhaps more importantly, a fantasia both swashbuckling and glorious. Times Literary Supplement Extraordinary...The action sequences in Tigerman are some of Harkaway's best. As ever, the writing is economical but lively, revelling in modern idiom...[Has] the cinematic scope and dynamism one has come to expect from Harkaway...The ending of Tigerman is pitch-perfect, thrilling and dramatic. Literary Review Tigerman is equal parts eco-fable, comic-book caper, thriller and buddy novel. Gripping stuff. Financial Times This mission will move you as powerfully as it will enthral you. Daily Express, 5 star reivew Harkaway has crafted an engaging story that examines the nature of heroes and the tropes of old-school pulp fiction, mixing sharp characterisation with an energetic portrait of a society heading for apocalypse ... Often hilarious but with an undercurrent of dark violence, this is an impressive novel that conceals provocative questions inside an old-school tale of ripping adventure. SFX magazine original, rewarding ... unexpectedly tender Daily Mail An effortless surety of touch Metro Brilliant, full of energy and imagination. -- Paul Cornell Harkaway uses the story of a disappointed man and a disenfranchised boy to examine matters of real import. His great gift as a novelist ... is to merge the pace, wit and clarity of the best popular literature with the ambition, complexity and irony of the so-called literary novel. Tigerman is in some ways all about the stripes: the distinctive becomes camouflage. Guardian

About the Author

Nick Harkaway was born in Cornwall in 1972. He likes deckled edges, wine, and breathtaking views. He does not like anchovies or reality television. He lives in London with his wife and two children.

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Book Info

Publication date

30th November 1999


Nick Harkaway

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