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Mr Chartwell by Rebecca Hunt

Mr Chartwell

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Shortlisted for the Galaxy New Writer of the Year 2010.

Longlisted for the Guardian First Book Award 2010.

A House of Commons library clerk, Esther Hammerhans and Winston Churchill find themselves linked by the man-sized Labrador, Mr Chartwell, who is lodging with Esther. Mr Chartwell himself is a play on the period in Churchill’s life where he referred to his depression as his ‘black dog’ and this is an amusing and original tale.

If you like Rebecca Hunt you might also like to read books by Yann Martel and Ned Beaumann.


Mr Chartwell by Rebecca Hunt

It's July, 1964. In bed at home in Kent, Winston Churchill is waking up. There's a visitor in the room, someone he hasn't seen for a while, a dark, mute bulk, watching him with tortured concentration. It's Mr. Chartwell. In her terraced house in Battersea, Esther Hammerhans, young, vulnerable and alone, goes to answer the door to her new lodger. Through the glass she sees a vast silhouette the size of a mattress. It's Mr. Chartwell. He is charismatic and dangerously seductive, and Esther and Winston Churchill are drawn together by his dark influence. But can they withstand Mr. Chartwell's strange, powerful charms and strong hold? Can they even explain to anyone who or what he is? Or why he has come to visit? For Mr. Chartwell is a huge, black dog. In this utterly original, moving, funny and exuberant novel, Rebecca Hunt explores how two unlikely lives collide as Mr. Chartwell's motives are revealed to be far darker and deeper than they seem.


A remarkable debut. These are some of the best evocations of depression you'll read * Observer * Extraordinary. Owing to Hunt's robust, intelligent style and ingenuiuty and compassion with which she deals with her story, it is very good indeed * Daily Telegraph * Offers a powerful evocation of depression. Brilliantly original and thought-provoking. She tackles a serious topic with humour and intelligence and marks herself out as one to watch * Sunday Express * Moving. Hunt treats her heavy themes with a light, intelligent touch and writes with a distinctive blend of humour, restraint and insight * Metro * Marvellously original, tender and funny debut novel. Rebecca Hunt proves herself to be a gifted writer who has no need of fictional realism to deliver profound truths * Daily Mail * Utterly gripping, truly innovative, beautifully written. One of those novels which knocks you sideways with the brilliance of the idea behind it * Stylist * A real joy to read: funny, clever and original. A darkly comic debut that hits all the right notes * Scotsman * Inventive and original * Grazia *

About the Author

Rebecca Hunt

Rebecca Hunt graduated from Central Saint Martins College with a first class honours degree in fine art. She lives and works in London. Mr Chartwell is her first novel.

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Book Info

Publication date

1st May 2011


Rebecca Hunt

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Penguin Books Ltd


224 pages


Literary Fiction
All Shortlists and Winners
Debuts of the Month
Reading Groups
eBook Favourites

Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)



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