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Featured on The Book Show on Sky Arts on 21 April 2011.
After the success of The Northern Clemency, shortlisted for the 2008 Man Booker Prize, Philip Hensher brings us another slice of contemporary life, this time the peaceful civility and spiralling paranoia of a small English town.
Hanmouth, situated where the river Hand flows into the Bristol channel, is usually quiet and undisturbed. But it becomes the centre of national attention when an eight-year-old girl vanishes. This tragic event serves to expose the range of segregated existences in the town, as spectrums of class, wealth and lifestyle are blurred in the investigation. Behind Hanmouth's closed doors and pastoral facade, the extraordinary individual lives of the community are laid bare. The undisclosed passions of a quiet international aid worker are set against his wife, seemingly a paragon of virtue to the outside world; a recently-widowed old woman tells a story that details her late discovery of sexual gratification; and the Bears have a memorable party. As the search for the missing girl continues, the case is made for increased surveillance, and old notions of privacy begin to crack. King of the Badgers is a powerful study of the vital importance of individuality and the increasingly intrusive hand of political powers. Like its predecessor, it is another devastating -- but frequently very funny -- portrait of England from one of this country's finest novelists.
Praise for The Northern Clemency: 'Hensher is an anatomist of familial tensions and marshals his large cast of characters deftly. He has an impeccable eye for nuances of character and setting, and the details of Seventies food and decor are lovingly done: the mushroom vol-au-vents, the white wall units with brown smoked glass!an engaging and hugely impressive novel.
'The Northern Clemency -- vast, compendious, wearing its ambition like an outsize boutonniere -- makes a virtue of its exactness, its recapitulative zeal, its absolute determination to jam everything in and sit unshiftably on the lid.'
Independent on Sunday
'Hensher has a forensic eye for detail, providing nightmarish glimpses of the everyday!engrossing, amusing and moving.'
'An epic novel.'
'Hensher is fascinating good on how social transformation manifests itself in the textures, colours and manners of a culture!extremely funny, but also deeply humane.'
The Sunday Times. A remarkable novel
!Hensher's technique of shifting continually from voice to voice, the third-person narrative perceived from the viewpoint of each character in turn, gives a cumulative effect of luminous richness, like a perfect piece of orchestration!but there is something more than brilliant cleverness that makes this novel extraordinary.
'Hensher's is a bold, impressively sustained attempt to mark a transitional phase in modern Englishness as seen largely from the domestic sphere.'
Publication date: 31/03/2011
Publisher: Fourth Estate Ltd an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
|Publication date:||31st March 2011|
|Publisher:||Fourth Estate Ltd an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers|
|Genres:||eBook Favourites, Literary Fiction,|
|Categories:||Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945),|
Philip Hensher's novels include Kitchen Venom, which won the Somerset Maugham Award, Other Lulus and The Mulberry Empire, which was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize, shortlisted for the WH Smith 'People's Choice' Award and highlighted by no fewer than twelve reviewers as their 'book of the year'. Chosen by Granta to appear on their prestigious, once-a-decade list of the twenty best young British novelists, Philip Hensher is also a columnist for the Independent and chief book reviewer for the Spectator. His most recent novel, The Northern Clemency was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2008. He lives in South London. &...More About Philip Hensher