How does the novelist refract, through the haze of memory, the secret history of a life long-lived? How does the past hold the present in its thrall? And how do these recollections help shape our understanding of our own lives? Two new novels explore this fertile terrain with compelling results.
Sebastian Barry is the Dublin-born playwright, poet and Booker-shortlisted author of the best-selling A Long Long Way. His latest novel The Secret Scripture reveals the contingent lives of centegenarian patient Roseanne McNulty and her long-term psychiatrist, Dr Grene. Told through their respective journals, it reveals two lives blighted by ignorance yet marked by passion and hope.
Described by Nick Hornby as ‘the best English novelist of his generation’, Jonathan Coe made his name with the caustic satires What a Carve up and The Rotter’s Club. His new novel The Rain Before It Falls strikes out for fresh new territory as the dying Rosamond reveals a tumultuous family history, bequeathed through a series of taped revelations to a cousin’s blind granddaughter.