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Quartet for the End of Time by Johanna Skibsrud
  

Quartet for the End of Time

Historical Fiction   eBook Favourites   eBook Favourites   

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Sarah Broadhurst's view...

A complicated, confusing book that demands close attention if you are to gather its points. Set in America and Europe between the 1930s and the 1940s, it charts the lives of three teenagers and is told from their perspectives, mostly in linear chapters. It starts with Alden and his sister Sutton helping members of a World War I camp where a riot breaks out. Alden is caught with a bomb, his father manipulates his release and a scapegoat is found. The novel reflects on how the incident impacts on the lives and psyche of three young people. It is a challenging read.

If you like Johanna Skibsrud you might also like to read books by Martin Amis, Don DeLilo and Tim O’Brien.

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Synopsis

Quartet for the End of Time by Johanna Skibsrud

This is a mesmerising tale of love, justice and the connections that transcend the passage of time, from the Giller prize-winning author Johanna Skibsrud. The year is 1932, and America is roiling with unrest. Angry World War One veterans, embittered by the ruinous poverty inflicted by the Great Depression, join forces and, calling themselves the Bonus Army, march on Washington to demand payment of the wartime bonus promised them for their service during the war. Arthur and Douglas Sinclair, an impoverished veteran and his son, make the arduous journey from Kansas to join the march. Alden and Sutton Kelly, the rebellious children of a powerful Washington judge, become involved with the veterans' struggle, causing an irreparable rift in the Kelly family. When the Bonus march explodes in a violent clash between government and veteran forces, Arthur is falsely accused of conspiracy and disappears. The lives of Douglas, Alden, and Sutton are forever changed - linked inextricably by the absence of Arthur Sinclair. As these three lives unfold, we are taken to unexpected places - from the underground world of a Soviet spy to Hemingway's Florida and the hard labour camps of Roosevelt's New Deal Projects in the Keys; from occultist circles in London to occupied Paris and the eventual fall of Berlin; and finally, to the German prison camp where French composer Olivier Messiaen originally wrote and performed his famous Quartet for the End of Time. Taking us on an unforgettable journey through individual experience and memory against the backdrop of seismic historical events, Quartet for the End of Time is both a profound meditation on human nature and an astonishing literary accomplishment from one of the most original voices to have emerged in recent years.

Reviews

'Quartet for the End of Time is a brilliant work of art, and it is brilliant in so many ways - its dense, rich, and immaculate prose, its vivid evocation of a watershed period in American history, its high-stakes political and personal drama, and, above all, its intimate and completely compelling portraits of human beings struggling to do the right thing under ambiguous moral circumstances. This wholly realized book has everything I crave in a work of fiction. -- Tim O'Brien Skibsrud reminds us how family members treat each other during political upheaval - and how war is an extension of domestic policy by other means.'

- Michael Winter

About the Author

Johanna Skibsrud is the author of two collections of poetry. The Sentimentalists, her first novel, won the 2010 Scotiabank Giller Prize, Canada's most prestigious literary award. She is also the author of a collection of short stories This Will Be Difficult To Explain. She lives in Tucson, Arizona.

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Book Info

Publication date

30th November 1999

Author

Johanna Skibsrud

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Author's Website

www.johannaskibsrud.com/

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Publisher

Format

Hardback

Categories

Historical Fiction
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ISBN

9780434021710

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