Longlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize 2017.
This impressively ambitious riff on Don Quixote and the Peasant’s Revolt gambols and scrambles with intellectual mischievousness.
Don and Is are journeying around Essex. In Don’s mind, they are on a quest to reveal the truth about history, which is (also in Don’s mind) that there is no such thing as history. To Don, the past does not exist, and neither does the future, as he explains to the less intellectually-minded Is through many a colourful speech. Don believes that every action is determined by Chance, that living for the moment is paramount. Is, on the other hand, just wants to get home and is constantly baffled by his companion’s philosophical and scientific declarations. Much mayhem - and danger – ensues, making this extraordinary debut a veritable feat of literary inventiveness that sends readers hurtling down unexpected paths. Extravagant, eccentric and challenging, this is a book to buckle up with, and devote time to - the rewards are well worth the investment. ~ Joanne Owen
Forbidden Line is a challenging, dazzling intellectual achievement. It’s also a book about love and companionship; a novel simultaneously touching and hilarious. Above everything else, it’s a pleasure to read – even if it makes you feel like you’re on a careering train, with all the stops and destinations rubbed off, and no idea where you’re heading...
Don and Is career around Essex and London, tilting at windmills, abusing petrol station assistants, fighting with each other and everyone around them. They are on a quest – as far as Don is concerned – to reveal the truth about history (he says there's no such thing) and to uncover the secrets of the hyperfine transition of hydrogen... But Is – like most of us – isn’t really sure what Don is talking about. And all he really wants to do is get through to the next day – and back to his family. Both of which turn into extremely tricky propositions. Don takes Is ever deeper into danger and the very structure of reality begins to turn against them both - as does the narrative of Forbidden Line itself.
There’s never been a book quite like Forbidden Line. Never been anything close.
“What grips at once is Stanbridge's beautiful, stately, eccentric and richly rewarding prose. He never lets up, never falters…breathtaking, magisterial, uniquely demented and hilarious - a lavish comic masterpiece." David Collard
“Everyone needs to sit up and take notice of this, which is Don Quixote on acid. It leaves the doughy train of contemporary realist fiction following way behind.” Giles Foden
“Forbidden Line is a work of enormous scope and ambition from a writer who combines style, wit… and a rare sense of the ridiculousness of the human condition. Incomparable.” Alex Pheby, Wellcome Book Prize-shortlisted author of Playthings
Publication date: 17/11/2016
Publisher: Galley Beggar Press
|Publication date:||17th November 2016|
|Publisher:||Galley Beggar Press|
|Categories:||Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945),|
Paul Stanbridge grew up in Essex, and went on to study literature at the universities of Reading and Manchester. After failing to tolerate working as a pensions administrator, bookseller, receptionist, waiter, archival catalogue editor, chef, barman, ministerial drafter, learning mentor and builder, Paul moved to Norwich, had children, and wrote a doctoral thesis examining creative method in literary modernism. Since then, he has divided his working time between music and writing. Space Eagle, his one-man blues band, has attracted a following of at least several dozen people in Norfolk. His other band, Erroneous Monk, arranges the songs of Thelonious Monk ...More About Paul Stanbridge