A disquieting new novel from the award-winning author of The Testimony of Taliesin Jones.
Johnny Yells – young, fit, ambitious advertising executive – finds his father’s death peculiarly useful: at the funeral he gets the idea for his first really successful campaign. The Smiling Jesus changes the face of life assurance and brings Johnny acclaim throughout the advertising world. With a promotion, a new car, a new flat in a swanky part of town, he’s getting all he ever wanted. So what is it that is making him so obsessed with his own death, so detached from those around him? And is the fact that the Smiling Jesus on the campaign posters seeming to frown at him a sign that he is going mad?
Rhidian Brook won a Somerset Maugham Award, a Betty Trask Award and the Author’s Club First Novel Award for The Testimony of Taliesin Jones. Set in contemporary London, in the glamorous, shallow world of advertising, with a modern Everyman as hero dealing with everyday questions of life, death and What It All Means, his second novel represents a marked leap in ambition. Written in plainer, sparer prose, it has the tenor of a fable or a contemporary parable without delivering the resolution of a moral, ending teasingly and elusively. It’s very much a novel about the eighties, written for the nineties, and charged with marketing and publicity potential.
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Praise for The Testimony of Taliesin Jones:
‘Highly accomplished… a panacea for a cynical age’
- The Times
‘Not just an impressive first novel – an impressive any novel… in short, a healing read’
- Michael Carson, author of Sucking Sherbet Lemons
‘The accomplished patters and Brook’s easy style form a readable and poetic first novel’
Johnny Yells is young, fit and ambitious, with a great job in advertising and everything to gain. Far from set back by the sudden death of his father, he finds it peculiarly useful: at the funeral he gets the idea for his first really successful campaign. The image of the Smiling Jesus changes the face of life assurance and brings Johnny acclaim throughout the advertising world, along with a promotion, a new car and a new flat in a swanky part of town. He's getting all he ever wanted.
But when Johnny goes down with a flu bug, it affects him strangely powerfully. Why has he become so obsessed with thoughts of his own death? Why does the world he has built around him seem suddenly so unreal? And is his sense that the Smiling Jesus on the campaign posters is beginning to frown at him a sign that he is going mad?
Johnny Yells is a modern Everyman tackling the everyday questions of life, death and the meaning of everything in the glamorous and ephemeral world of advertising. In this disquieting novel Rhidian Brook provides a teasing affecting and elusive read.
PRAISE FOR THE TESTIMONY OF TALIESIN JONES
"Highly accomplished… A panacea for a cynical age"
RUSSELL CELYN JONES, 'The Times'
"Not just an impressive first novel – an impressive any novel… In short, a healing read"
MICHAEL CARSON, 'author of Sucking Sherbert Lemons'
"The accomplished patterns and Brooks easy style from a readable and poetic first novel"
"A touching novel, humorous and poetic… as competent as the publisher's claim"
"Very upright, very moral, very entertaining… you'll find yourself seduced by the quiet power of the Welshman's prose, the subtlety of his narrative technique, with its onion-skin layers of meaning, sympathy and revelation"
"Subtle and sublime, Brook's first novel is far out of the ordinary run"
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Book Description Flamingo, 1998. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. First Edition. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0002257580