Guy Ware's new novel charts a course from the 1930s onwards through the fragmentary memories of the 85 year-old Charlie, whose identical twin brother JJ has recently died. Sons of a working-class Communist family, growing up in the radical Peckham Experiment and orphaned by the Blitz, the twins emerge from the war keen to build the New Jerusalem.
In 1968, JJ’s ideals are rocked by the fatal collapse of a tower block his council and Charlie’s development company have built. When the entire estate is demolished in 1986 JJ retires, apparently defeated. Now he is dead and Charlie, preparing for the funeral, relives their history, their family and their politics. It’s a story of how we got to where we are today told in a voice – opinionated, witty, garrulous, indignant, guilty, deluded and, as the night wears on, increasingly drunken – that sucks us in to both the idealism and the corruption it depicts, leaving us wondering just where we stand.
‘Fleshing out the shadowy metaphysical hints of Beckett’s novels, this intellectual romp is the best debut I have read in years.’ —Nicholas Lezard, The Guardian
‘Absent, slippery or suspect ‘facts’ are central to this unapologetically knotty novel.’ —Stephanie Cross, Daily Mail
‘This ingenious novel succeeds in being both a highly readable story of second world war derring-do and its aftermath and a clever Celtic knot of a puzzle about writing itself… Just who is telling this story? There are different narrators, but verbal tripwires indicate that all is not as it seems: impossible echoes from one person’s account to the next alert us to the, yes, fictional nature of what we are being drawn into and pull us up short. The complexity of who saw what and wrote what is maddening but also exhilarating, and very funny in places.’ —Jane Housham, The Guardian
‘Whatever your tastes, Guy Ware is a writer whose name should be part of the contemporary literary discussion. His is a post-modernism that pushes the past into our increasingly confusing world.’ —Rebekah Lattin-Rawstrone, Byte the Book
‘Reconciliation opens with an intriguing apology by the author ‘for the extent to which my characters fail to resemble their real-life models’. This indicates a central concern of Guy Ware’s novel: namely, how the fiction writer appropriates ‘facts’ to create a story. It’s a preoccupation that informs the book’s highly original narrative structure … a memorable and inventive meditation on reconciliation, in the sense of both settling differences and squaring the facts.’ —Tom Williams, Literary Review