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Quartet for the End of Time by Johanna Skibsrud
  

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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. ~ Sarah Broadhurst

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

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Synopsis

Quartet for the End of Time by Johanna Skibsrud

Presents 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

'A searingly beautiful book, at once a sweeping historical epic and an intimate mediation on faith and memory ... so intelligent, so compassionate, so moving-and above all so gorgeously written-that it's impossible to put down. She is an astonishingly good writer.' -- Molly Antopol, author of The UnAmericans

'Recalls Ian McEwan's Atonement ... it is exhilarating to join a novelist working at these bracing heights.' Washington Post

'Skibsrud makes places and periods incredibly vivid, dancing through the 20th century and easily linking world events to the personal lives of her characters.' Emerald Street

'Intricate [and] ambitious ... a haunting meditation on responsibility with vivid glimpses of history, and a distinctive and nuanced voice.' Publishers Weekly

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

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

24th September 2015

Author

Johanna Skibsrud

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Author's Website

www.johannaskibsrud.com/

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Publisher

Windmill Books an imprint of Cornerstone

Format

Paperback
480 pages

Categories

Family Drama
Literary Fiction
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Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)

ISBN

9780099558620

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