‘part le Carré, part Graham Greene’
Whitehall civil servant Magnus Sparling is called home to Dublin because Edwin, his father, has been accused of attempting to poison his wife. Magnus does a thorough job interrogating his father. He is discreet, patient and pragmatic, but Edwin resolutely refuses to confess. Why is Magnus convinced of Edwin’s guilt, his aunt Charlotte asks.
Magnus tells Charlotte a story that has long been suppressed in the family: an account of a few extraordinary and precious days in the past when he accompanied his father on a clandestine journey beyond the Mojave Desert to meet Edwin’s blood-mother. The more Magnus probes for the truth about the attempted poisoning, the greater is his need to relinquish old fears. What he fails to anticipate is that Charlotte, a secret fantasist, has important news to add.
A compelling tale of family secrets, and love lost and regained, by a writer at the height of his powers.
Philip Davison has had seven novels published: The Book-Thief's Heartbeat, Twist and Shout, The Illustrator, The Crooked Man, McKenzie’s Friend, The Long Suit and A Burnable Town. The Crooked Man was adapted for television (broadcast on ITV). He has written nine plays for radio. His stage play The Invisible Mending Company was performed on the Abbey Theatre’s Peacock stage. He has co-written two television dramas: Exposure and Criminal Conversation (broadcast on RTÉ and Channel 4). He has co-scripted Learning Gravity (broadcast on BBC and RTÉ), a documentary film on poet and undertaker Thomas Lynch. In 2008, he was elected to Aosdána.
Praise for A Burnable Town
‘Part le Carré, part Graham Greene . . . thoroughly compelling . . . cracking dialogue’
‘Each word in this bleakly humorous novel promises to explode and bring light to the shadows . . . Davison never fails to surprise, compel and intrigue with dry philosophy and grim wit.’
―Times Literary Supplement
‘Davison writes well about betrayal and loss, and what matters most in this strain of fiction is the mood rather than chapter and verse. Maddening if you feel a bit left out; but possibly addictive.’
The Long Suit
‘Davison writes with the intelligence and intent of a James Lee Burke, flecked with the mordant wit of a Kinky Friedman.’
‘Sharp. Funny. Hip. Learned. Surprising. . . . If you haven’t experienced Ireland’s equivalent of Graham Greene with a dash of Le Carré and the readability of Len Deighton, then treat yourself to The Long Suit.’
‘Philip Davison is a gem of a writer, and this is a glittering read, deceptively leisurely in pace, with killer flashes just when you least expect them.’
‘This is unlike any other crime novel you’ll read this year; funny, poignant and gripping by turns, it will leave Davison’s many fans eager for more.’
―The Good Book Guide
‘Chilly, elegant and disconcertingly comic. Rather like a collaboration between two notable Green(e)s – Graham and Henry – and quite safely described as original.’
‘Davison shares Beckett’s knack for making the down-at-heel appear surreal.’
―Times Literary Supplement
‘A subtle undercurrent of humour: well written, weird’
The Crooked Man
‘An exciting, literate thriller’
‘As flawed heroes go, Harry Fielding must rank among the best of them.’
‘Davison’s lean and ultra-minimalist style evokes an atmosphere that is quite surreal.’
‘The Dublin-based author has a wicked ear for conversational quirks and the minutiae of life. The Illustrator is compulsively readable’
‘What this slender, bittersweet tale does best is convey the sharp taste of overwhelming grief and loss, in a deceptively glib tone of wry, cool detachment.
The Book Thief’s Heartbeat
‘Pre-eminently human . . . funny in the way that The Catcher in the Rye was funny’
‘It has a hero who smacks of early Beckett’
‘It is obvious that Philip Davison could make any place or circumstance or character that took his fancy equally compelling. He has a sparse and strangely matter-of-fact style of writing that gives full value to every word and act.’