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The House of Special Purpose

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LoveReading Says

LoveReading Says

 

May 2010 Book of the Month.

 

Featured on The Book Show on Sky Arts on 22 April 2010.

 

The structure here is interesting.  It begins in London in 1981 with Georgy and his wife Zoya.  She is dying.  Chapter two takes us to Russia in 1915 and Georgy’s young life.  So, in alternating chapters, the contemporary story moves back and the historical one forward until they meet in 1918.  The historical episodes centre on the Romanovs to whom Georgy was a bodyguard.  After their deaths Georgy and Zoya flee and seem to spend their lives in fear, we know not from what.  When it is revealed I certainly didn’t see it coming …. Brilliant.  A lovely book, highly recommended.

 

Comparison: Sebastian Faulks, Tom Rob Smith, Kate Furnivall.

 

John Boyne introduces THE HOUSE OF SPECIAL PURPOSE...
"My previous two novels were narrated by children – a 9 year old and 14 year old respectively – so when I began THE HOUSE OF SPECIAL PURPOSE I knew that I wanted a break from this and so I began chapter one with the voice of an 82 year old Russian emigre in London, a man for whom English is not his first language and who therefore speaks in a rather formal and elegant style.

The novel takes place over more than sixty years, following the journey of Georgy, a young peasant from his wood-framed hut in the farmlands of Russia to the Winter Palace of Tsar Nicholas II, where he becomes a bodyguard-companion to the Tsarevich Alexei and onwards to Paris and London between 1920 and 1980, as Georgy and his wife Zoya leave behind the dramatic events of the Russian Revolution but are never fully able forget them.

I’d never written a love story before and at its heart, that’s what this novel is. Georgy and Zoya are a couple who have been through many traumas together but their affection and loyalty to each other marks their relationship and maintains the strength at its core."

Sarah Broadhurst

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