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Day by A L Kennedy
  

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Appeared on “Hay-on-Sky” 25 May. Winner of the Costa Book of the Year and Novel Award 2007.

Costa Book Awards 2007 Judges' comments:


”Day is an example of excellence in its category and a book ultimately to recommend. It is perfectly and beautifully written by an author who is an extraordinary stylist.”

"An exceptional feat of research and an astonishing effort of the imagination, A.L. Kennedy's Day is both terrifying and hilarious. Alfred Day's war stays with the reader as it stays with him."

If you like A L Kennedy you might also like to read books by Rachel Cusk, Jane Gardam and Jeanette Winterson.

Synopsis

Day by A L Kennedy

Alfred Day wanted his war. In its turmoil he found his proper purpose as the tail-gunner in a Lancaster bomber; he found the wild, dark fellowship of his crew, and – most extraordinary of all – he found Joyce, a woman to love. But that’s all gone now – the war took it away. Maybe it took him, too.

Before Hitler and the bombs he was a boy in Staffordshire, helpless to defend his mother, to resist his abusive father. The RAF gave him order, skills, another family and a way to be a man. It taught him how to burn through lifetimes on night ops and brief, sweet leaves, surviving the unsurvivable. But it didn’t prepare him for capture, for the prison camp and the chaos as the war wound down. It didn’t prepare him for an empty peace.

Now it’s 1949 and Alfred is doing the impossible again, winding back time to see where he lost himself. He has taken the role of an extra in a POW film. Shipped out to Germany and an ersatz camp, he picks his way through the clichés that will become all that’s left of his war and begins to do what he’s never dared – to remember. He is looking for some semblance of hope: trying to move forward by going back.

A superbly realised novel about the brutal simplicities of war – of horror, and the camaraderie found in the closeness to death – and a moving exploration of the complexities of human emotion, Day is a wonderful piece of storytelling: the freight of history and humanity carried effortlessly by the beauty of the writing. For previous readers of A.L. Kennedy’s books the dark humour, close observation and thrillingly original language will come as no surprise; for new readers, this novel will be a revelation.


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Reviews

Kennedy is described in the literary press as not only one of our finest, but also one of our most humane, writers * Church Times * Day confirms, if confirmation were needed, that Kennedy is a singular, superlative author. I hope that the judges of this year's Man Booker prize pay particular attention to it -- Stuart Kelly * Scotland on Sunday * Kennedy does bleak the way the Russians do epic; unremittingly, awesomely and undershot with redeeming humour -- Gillian Bowditch * Sunday Times * Once again, Kennedy brilliantly interweaves over-wrought internal dialogue with external outrageous acts. The unfolding tenderness of nature and of amity blend superbly with the casualness of daily horror -- Catherine Taylor * Independent on Sunday * Day is more than a novel, it is an investigations into the difficulties of being alive -- Eileen Battersby * Irish Times *


About the Author

A L Kennedy

A. L. Kennedy has published three previous novels, two books of non-fiction, and three collections of stories, most recently 'Indelible Acts' in 2002. She lives in Glasgow.

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Book Info

Publication date

7th February 2008

Author

A L Kennedy

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Author's Website

www.a-l-kennedy.co.uk/

Publisher

Vintage

Format

Paperback
288 pages

Categories

Literary Fiction
All Shortlists and Winners
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Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)

ISBN

9780099494058

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