Reads like Albert Camus’ lost London novel – a scarily accomplished and unsettling debut from a new young English writer of great promise.
On the surface another tale of adultery and ethics in North London disintegrating into violence and recrimination, this very promising debut proves to be so much more – a riveting tale of menace and mystery, of emotional disengagement and passionate action, moral vacuity and physiological sensitization, and written in a smooth, calm prose into which crashes very occasionally the most startlingly disturbing sentence.
Wilcken is 35, a young Englishman living in Paris, and with this book already he makes a strong claim on the book world’s attentions as a writer with a real future in the Ian McEwan-to-William Boyd market.
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'Taut, menacing, full of sinister beguilements. And unsettlingly shrewd.' Will Eaves, author of The Oversight
‘Hugo Wilcken’s tight, energetic prose keeps pages turning in an impressive and sure-footed debut.’
‘Unnervingly cool prose…an entertainingly urbane thriller…distinguished by its alluring ambiguity’ Daily Telegraph
‘Through this tone (existential and wise)and elegant patterning The Execution transcends genre. Its direct, factual narration never makes a misstep’ Observer
‘A dark exploration of the fault-line between reason and action, and the ground that opens when they collide. Wilcken has the ability to probe the connections between obsession and detachment, violence and retribution.’ TLSFrom the Back Cover:
'She was lying on the trolley, two white sheets draped over her. The morgue assistant wheeled the body over to us, then removed the sheets from her face. I stared. A long, faint scratch mark crossed her high forehead diagonally from left to right, like a line drawn across a page to strike it out.'
Matthew Bourne is very much the centre of his own universe. He has a long-term partner, a mistress and a high flying career in a human rights agency, where he is campaigning to secure the release of a condemned African dissident. Then one day a colleague's wife dies in tragic circumstances, and Matthew is called to identify the body. Only much later does he realise that this incident has seeped into his life like a slow poison, and he spirals into a nightmare of death and betrayal…
'The Execution' is a riveting narrative of mystery and menace, of emotional disengagement and passionate action. It is written in a preternaturally smooth prose, occasionally disrupted by the most startling and disturbing sentence. Perhaps the most significant existential novel of the twenty-first century, this is a remarkable debut from a gifted young writer.
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