A top-rate novel of drugs, love and treachery from an author at the height of his powers.
Blind Howard, an ex-RAF veteran, possesses an acute sense of awareness, and can see almost better than the sighted. Morse code patterns his universe and keeps his mind tuned sharp to the big and sometimes bad world. Laura, his ever-doting wife, is loveliness personified. Things start to change when he meets the nefarious Richard. Morse is the common denominator of the alliance, but before long Howard’s world of dots and dashes, dits and dahs takes on new darker horizons when he clicks into a drugs racket which means leaving his caring wife for a wild voyage in search of a woman whose voice he has fallen in love with; and a sea-journey with maverick sailors on a heroin heist.
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Blind war veteran Howard inhabits two worlds. There's the pampered, stable existence he shares with wife Laura and then there's the world he escapes to--the enigmatic, ever-changing world of the radio waves. From the bewitching rhythms of Morse Code, Howard sculpts an alternative reality for himself, one where he is God, eavesdropping on the secrets of the sighted world. Beguiled by a mysterious dialogue between two lovers, Howard gradually withdraws from life. Laura's efforts to reach him send their cosy existence spinning into chaos. She introduces him to the debonair Richard, a smuggler whose interest in Howard's radio knowledge is anything but innocent. A chilling adventure unfolds, of ruthless drug barons, perilous sea journeys and a desperate scramble for survival.
Sillitoe has created a gripping tale, which retains its satisfying twists until the very last line. At the same time, he inhabits the world of his blind narrator with a precision and an empathy that are fascinating--and humbling--to read. "If you're blind, you have to be in love all the time, with life, just to keep going", says Howard. It's impossible to read this book without feeling similarly compelled. --Matthew BaylisReview:
Praise for Alan Sillitoe:
‘A major writer who ought to be read.’
‘Sillitoe keeps on going… never flagging, never looking back and writing with a vigour, clarity and hmanity that should be the envy of all those novelists who were not even born when he started.’
‘What impresses one, as ever, about Sillitoe, is the ease of a style which yet allows him to expose the most complex emotions, and his ability to bring to light what people hide from themselves, or choose not to admit.’
‘One of Britain’s most powerful and sophisticated fiction writers.’
Times Literary Supplement
Praise for his latest novel The Broken Chariot:
‘After Dickens, Sillitoe is one of the great mythbinders of English fiction.’
The Herald, Glasgow
‘Readable and indeed admirable, this is largely thanks to Sillitoe’s abundant generosity of spirit, his affectionate understanding of provincial urban society and his eye for telling descriptive detail.’
Times Literary Supplement
‘Absorbing new novel.’
Mail on Sunday
‘It is a more rewarding novel than many that will get much more attention this autumn.’
‘Hertbert/Bert is a clever, if chilling creation.’
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Book Description Book Condition: Brand New. Book Condition: Brand New. Bookseller Inventory # 97800022596061.0