John Harper is in hiding in a remote hut on a tropical island. As he lies awake at night, listening to the rain on the roof, he believes his life may be in danger. But he is less afraid of what is going to happen than of what he’s already done.
In a local town, he meets Rita, a woman with her own tragic history. They begin an affair, but can they offer each other redemption? Or do the ghosts of the past always catch up with us in the end?
Moving between Europe during the Cold War, Civil Rights–era California, and Indonesia during the massacres of 1965 and the subsequent military dictatorship, Black Water explores some of the darkest events of recent history through the story of one troubled man.
In this gripping follow-up to Apple Tree Yard, Louise Doughty writes with the intelligence, vivid characterization, and moral ambiguity that make her fiction resonate in the reader's mind long after the final page.
A magnificent and ambitiously conceived portrait of contemporary life, by a genius of realism
Nine men. Each of them at a different stage in life, each of them away from home, and each of them striving--in the suburbs of Prague, in an overdeveloped Alpine village, beside a Belgian motorway, in a dingy Cyprus hotel--to understand what it means to be alive, here and now. Tracing a dramatic arc from the spring of youth to the winter of old age, the ostensibly separate narratives of All That Man Is aggregate into a picture of a single shared existence, a picture that interrogates the state of modern manhood while bringing to life, unforgettably, the physical and emotional terrain of an increasingly globalized Europe. And so these nine lives form an ingenious and new kind of novel, in which David Szalay expertly plots a dark predicament for the twenty-first-century man.
Dark and disturbing, but also often wickedly and uproariously comic, All That Man Is is notable for the acute psychological penetration Szalay brings to bear on his characters, from the working-class ex-grunt to the pompous college student, the middle-aged loser to the Russian oligarch. Steadily and mercilessly, as this brilliantly conceived book progresses, the protagonist at the center of each chapter is older than the last one, it gets colder out, and All That Man Is gathers exquisite power. Szalay is a writer of supreme gifts--a master of a new kind of realism that vibrates with detail, intelligence, relevance, and devastating pathos.