Results of the Man Booker Prize in the year 1989.
The Remains of the Day is a profoundly compelling portrait of the perfect English butler and of his fading, insular world in postwar England. At the end of his three decades of service at Darlington Hall, Stevens embarks on a country drive, during which he looks back over his career to reassure himself that he has served humanity by serving “a great gentleman.” But lurking in his memory are doubts about the true nature of Lord Darlington’s “greatness” and graver doubts about his own faith in the man he served.
John Banville’s stunning powers of mimicry are brilliantly on display in this engrossing novel, the darkly compelling confession of an improbable murderer.
Freddie Montgomery is a highly cultured man, a husband and father living the life of a dissolute exile on a Mediterranean island. When a debt comes due and his wife and child are held as collateral, he returns to Ireland to secure funds. That pursuit leads to murder. And here is his attempt to present evidence, not of his innocence, but of his life, of the events that lead to the murder he committed because he could. Like a hero out of Nabokov or Camus, Montgomery is a chillingly articulate, self-aware, and amoral being, whose humanity is painfully on display.
Cat’s Eye is the story of Elaine Risley, a controversial painter who returns to Toronto, the city of her youth, for a retrospective of her art. Engulfed by vivid images of the past, she reminisces about a trio of girls who initiated her into the fierce politics of childhood and its secret world of friendship, longing, and betrayal. Elaine must come to terms with her own identity as a daughter, a lover, an artist, and a woman—but above all she must seek release from her haunting memories.
Disturbing, hilarious, and compassionate, Cat’s Eye is a breathtaking novel of a woman grappling with the tangled knot of her life.
Patrick Doyle is a 29 year old teacher in an ordinary school. Disaffected, frustrated and increasingly bitter at the system he is employed to maintain, Patrick begins his rebellion, fuelled by drink and his passionate, unrequited love for a fellow teacher.
Sybille Bedford’s latest novel picks up where her first, A Legacy, left off, leading us out of the Kaiser’s Germany into the wider Europe of the 1920s and the limbo between world wars.
The narrator, Billi, tells the story of her scholar-gipsy childhood and of her many teachers, beginning with her father, a pleasure-loving German baron, and her brilliant, beautiful, erratic mother. Later, on the Mediterranean coast of France, she meets the artists and intellectuals who will show her the way to a life’s work in literature, among them the Huxleys, Aldous and Maria. Germany, Italy, England, France; mentors, examples, seducers, friends—each place, each person is a bright piece in the puzzle of Billi’s identity. But Billi is more than the sum of all these pieces, just as Jigsaw is more than the sum of Bedford’s art.
Restoration is a dazzling romp through 17th-century England. The main character Robert Merivel not only embodies the contradictions of his era, but ours as well. He is trapped between the longing for wealth and power and the realization that the pursuit of these trappings can leave one’s life rather empty.