Older Beard, Richard X20

ISBN 13: 9780002254052

9780002254052: X20

Gregory is giving up smoking and plans that when he craves a cigarette he will write something down instead. Unfortunately, everything he writes has something to do with smoking. It also becomes clear that his friendship with Julian, a PR executive for a cigarette company, is not all it seems.

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Review:

'One of the most ingenious, resourceful and entertaining novelists in England' -- Philip Hensher

From the Back Cover:

SHE OFFERED ME THE CIGARETTE LIKE AN APPLE. IT WAS LOVE AND DESIRE. IT WAS KNOWLEDGE AND EVERYTHING.

Gregory Simpson is giving up smoking and he has a plan: each time he craves a cigarette he'll write something down instead.

Unfortunately, everything he writes has something to do with smoking, and he finds himself remembering Lucy Hinton, taunting him with endless cigarettes fresh from the packet. He re-examines his friendship with Dr Barclay, a research scientist forever on the point of discovering a safe cigarette, and he tries to make sense of 104-year-old Walter, a life-long smoker in excellent health whose daughter runs an anti-smoking movement called LUNG. Gregory even starts worrying about Bananas, his cat, who seems addicted to sniffing ashtrays. As his ability to concentrate without cigarettes gradually improves, it becomes clear that his relationship with Julian Carr, an old friend and now public relations executive for a cigarette company, is not all it seems.

Meanwhile, Gregory still has to face the problem of life after nicotine: if he doesn't want a cigarette then what does he really want?

Crisp, funny and devastatingly stylish, 'X20' marks the debut of an extraordinary new talent.

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