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Nicholas Lezard’s best paperbacks of 2015
‘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
Monday lunchtime: a bank is being robbed. The gunmen tell everyone to get down on the floor, but an old man refuses. Behind him in the queue is Rada Kalenkova, an investigator for the Office of Assessment, recording everything she sees. Shots are fired and a woman is killed. Or maybe two. But Rada ignores the murders and pursues the old man instead.
Nothing about the robbery or the putative killings makes sense. The robbers might be police. The bank manager denies anyone was hurt, despite the blood on the walls. Every subsequent enquiry leads towards Edward Likker, a renowned fixer. But Likker is dead.
The Fat of Fed Beasts is an ambitious literary mix of existential uncertainty, murder, bureaucracy, unreliable father figures and disaffected policemen. It asks why we do what we do, whether it matters, and what, if anything, our lives are worth. And it’s funny.
‘Ware has an uncluttered prose style and a willingness to stretch the boundaries of fiction. His sensibility is finely tuned to those grey areas of experience where identities shift, where people forget who they really are. No other writer springs to mind as a ready comparison to Ware: already he has defined a unique thematic territory.’ Aiden O’Reilly, The Short Review
‘4/5 Rating. Alex, Rada, and D are ‘loss adjusters’ – they deal with lives that have ended, reporting on the worth. Alex gets up later than D and Rada. He wanted to be with Rada but she chose Gary. D is sick of Rada’s detailing and just completely sick of Alex, and hopes for better. Rada is in the bank when it’s robbed, can’t get the old man to lay on the floor and her following suspension leaves her aloof in the world. And then there are the demoted police who want to give something unlawful a try.’ —The Worm Hole
‘Fleshing out the shadowy metaphysical hints of Beckett’s novels, this intellectual romp is the best debut I have read in years.’ —Nicholas Lezard
‘But, this being a book set in 21st-century Britain, it is not only concerned with the fate of the soul and the nature of narrative, but also with guns, the ennui of daily life, minutely observed trivia and deep and dark matters; Quentin Tarantino is in the mix, as well as eschatology, the branch of theology concerned with the end of days. If you liked Tom McCarthy’s Remainder, you’ll love this. Guy Ware is also very good at black humour (“I’ve either got to actually hit someone or find some other way to calm myself down,” says the most violent and yobbish of the narrators, “because if I go on like this, I’m going to make myself ill”), and corny humour: on being told that the first stage of grief, in Elisabeth Kübler-Ross’s formula, is denial, a character replies “No, it’s not,” which got a laugh from me at least. The result of all this is the best debut novel I have read in years. I am now going to polish my shoes.’ —Nicholas Lezard
‘Guy Ware’s debut short story collection is called You Have 24 Hours To Love Us. It took me roughly that amount of time to read through it for the first time and immediately fall in love with the author’s style.’ —Maia Nikitina
‘Ware has an uncluttered prose style and a willingness to stretch the boundaries of fiction. His sensibility is finely tuned to those grey areas of experience where identities shift, where people forget who they really are. No other writer springs to mind as a ready comparison to Ware: already he has defined a unique thematic territory.’ —Aiden O’Reilly
Synopsis “Hilary Mantel and Helen Simpson feature in the nation’s favourite annual guide to the short story, now in its fifth year …” Best British Short Stories invites you to...
Synopsis Winner of the Dylan Thomas Prize for new writers A Times Children’s Book of the Week A Guardian Top Teen Read of 2015 “Happy birthday, Stanly. We hope you like your...
Synopsis Our Book Reviews Online: Top Ten Books of the Year 2015 Lydia, a woman in her early thirties, lives in London. She lacks a purpose and loses herself in...