A post-modern puzzle about self and identity.
Alexander embarks on a remarkable experiment, the likes of which no one has attempted before: to find who he is by writing a book as if he were a watching detective. With Penny, Alexander is a gadfly, mucking her about, unable to see past her beauty; but with Melanie, he has met his match. It is remarkable how quickly the mood shifts from talk of big questions (religion, God, beauty, how mirrors lie) to the perfectly ordinary nuances between a couple.
‘Raymond Chandler meets Maurice Sendac. A private investigator develops his latest assignment into a more complex exploration of the exterior and interior worlds of his ‘watch’. It’s vastly more invasive, but no one gets hurt. Mark Carew’s book is mysterious yet understated, and the reader cannot but stick with him as the intrigue develops. Exquisite.’ —Alison Baverstock, author of Is there a book in you?
‘The Book of Alexander was an interesting novel, very much a thought experiment in fictional form. We’re always wondering about the detective as much as his quarry and this makes for a rather mysterious read, another very enjoyable debut from Salt.’ —Shiny New Books
‘[A] disturbing, self-reflective chiller. The shifting perspectives demonstrate how filtered any observation of people will be. Alexander seeks subjects for his art. The reader may find themselves captured by his gaze.’ —Jackie Law, neverimitate
‘Mark Carew’s debut novel is written with a wit and compassion that is second to none. Alexander is about to embark on a remarkable never before attempted experiment – he will find who he is by writing a book as if he were a detective. The more you read of Alexander’s story, the more you fall in love with him and with Carew’s humor, which is deeply embedded into his writing.’ —Daniel George, Big Issue in the North
‘The detective begins the job, he spies on Alex and Penny too, they seem to be rowing. The detective makes notes in what will become The Book of Alexander. Penny is soon gone, Ruth replaces her within hours, there are other women interested in Alexander and vice versa. The book contains Alexander’s reading preferences, the contents of his computer, his sexual partners and connections to the outside world and a wider view of his philosophical understanding of the world. Does it bring him to any greater understanding of self for Alexander? You decide.
This is a first novel of promise, a second, Magnus, will be published in 2019.’ —Paul Burke, NB Magazine