Obsession grows in darkness and silence; Unsworth's novel is the
story of Charles Cleasby, an obsessive Nelson fan, who re-fights
great naval battles on the billiard table in his London basement.
His human feelings, like his model ships, are kept under lock and
key. He is more aroused by the thought of Emma Hamilton than by any
living woman. Gradually, Charles feels himself fuse with his hero,
body and soul. In tracing his creepy story to its violent end in
Naples, Unsworth not only unpicks the nature of delusion, but
challenges us to take a fresh look at everything we think we know
about Nelson. The author's evocation of both place and period is
piquant and assured, his considerable research smoothly
assimilated. His novel is layered and complex but gripping, and
written with wit and polished ease. It asks intriguing questions
about great men and their careers: how much is destiny, how much
luck? Do heroes make their own luck? This is a book for anyone who
fears they were taught only the history it was deemed safe to know.
Review by HILARY MANTEL Editor's note: Hilary Mantel's novels
include The Giant, O'Brien. (Kirkus UK)
In the basement of a large Victorian house in London, Charles Cleasby painstakingly re-enacts the great sea battles of his hero, Horatio Nelson. He is also writing a faithful biography of the great man, as a true English hero for an age without idols, a 'bright angel' to Charles's dark shadow. But as Charles's visiting typist Miss Lily begins to question Nelson's heroism, and as Charles unearths evidence which tarnishes the image of his icon, his own precarious sense of identity is undermined and the battle raging inside him: between darkness and light, reality and fantasy, threatens to overwhelm him ...
|Country of origin:
||198 x 129 x 22mm (L x W x T)
||Paperback - B-format
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