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The Emperor Waltz by Philip Hensher
  

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Three narrative strands, three impressive recreations of 4th century Rome, 1920’s Germany and London in the 80s. It is an epic ‘blockbuster’ of a book, eccentric, powerful, challenging, full of secrets, hostility, passion and love; huge in scope, impossible to summarize, a masterpiece, a wonderful, impressive work. Highly recommended. It’s about persecution and belief.

If you like Philip Hensher you might also like to read books by John Banville, Patrick Flanery and Peter Carey.

Synopsis

The Emperor Waltz by Philip Hensher

The new novel from Booker Prize-shortlisted Philip Hensher - his most ambitious and daring novel yet. In this astonishing novel, various narrative strands are drawn together into a compelling symphonic whole. In a third-century desert settlement on the fringes of the Roman Empire, a new wife becomes fascinated by a cult being persecuted by the Emperor Diocletian. In 1922, Christian, a young artist, travels to Weimar to begin his studies at the Bauhaus, the avant-garde confronting conservative elements around it. With postwar Germany in turmoil, while the Bauhaus attempt to explore radical ways of thinking and living, Christian finds that love will change him forever. And in 1970s London Duncan uses his inheritance to establish the country's first gay bookshop, whatever the neighbours think and despite persecution from the police. Delving deep into the human spirit to explore connections between love, sanctity, commitment and virtue, Philip Hensher takes as his subject small groups of men and women, tightly bound together, trying to change the world through the example of their lives. 'The Emperor Waltz' is an absorbing echo-chamber of a novel, innovative and compelling, that explores what it means for us to belong to each other.

Reviews

Praise for 'Scenes from Early Life': 'An unostentatious tour de force, combining a tender and richly affectionate family memoir with a vividly evoked portrait of town and country life and the story of the birth of a nation. It is full of surprises.
Margaret Drabble

'Beautifully packed with detail ... does for Bangladesh what Salmon Rushdie did for India with Midnight's Children ... It is a remarkable re-creation of a land that most of us know little about.'
Sunday Times

'This is his most purely pleasurable novel to date.'
Daily Mail

'Highly impressive ... for all Hensher's accomplished ventriloquism - his ability to inhabit the voice of a Muslim child and a history teacher at the same time - his own voice is not lost ... heart-breaking.'
Guardian

'A deeply interesting book ... The joins are seamless ... It is inventive, clever and loving; a Booker candidate, I would have thought.'
Spectator

'...this delightful book shows for the first time what Hensher has largely concealed in the past: his heart.'
Amanda Craig, Independent on Sunday

About the Author

Philip Hensher

Philip Hensher's novels include Kitchen Venom, which won the Somerset Maugham Award, Other Lulus and The Mulberry Empire, which was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize, shortlisted for the WH Smith 'People's Choice' Award and highlighted by no fewer than twelve reviewers as their 'book of the year'. Chosen by Granta to appear on their prestigious, once-a-decade list of the twenty best young British novelists, Philip Hensher is also a columnist for the Independent and chief book reviewer for the Spectator. His most recent novel, The Northern Clemency was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2008. He lives in South London.

Author photo © Simon James

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Book Info

Publication date

30th November 1999

Author

Philip Hensher

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Publisher

Format

Hardback

Categories

Literary Fiction
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ISBN

9780007459575

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