A STUNNING STORY SPANNING CENTURIES: THE DEVIL’S HIGHWAY BY GREGORY NORMINTON IS PUBLISHED TODAY

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Gregory Norminton’s THE DEVIL’S HIGHWAY, a novel deeply rooted in place, is published today by Fourth Estate in hardback, ebook and audiobook. Gregory read an extract from the dazzling novel at a packed launch at Daunt Books’ in Holland Park last night. The paperback will follow in September 2018.

In December, Robert Macfarlane selected THE DEVIL’S HIGHWAY as his book of the year for Resurgence magazine, calling it ‘a powerful meditation on the damages – and the good – we have wrought, and will wreak, on the living world.’ George Monbiot also commented on its importance in addressing environmental issues, saying, ‘it's brilliant. The best treatment of climate change in fiction I've come across. A powerful, essential novel.’

This weekend The Guardian’s M. John Harrison praised the novel for being ‘satisfyingly Alan Garnereseque…. …. reminiscent of Will Self’s THE BOOK OF DAVE or Russell Hoban’s RIDDLEY WALKER’, and in the TLS Jay Griffiths describes it as ‘profound and powerful, its prose moving to poetry. Gregory Norminton writes in language scraped down to its bleached bones – but how exquisitely he makes those bones sing.’

Set on one Roman road in three time periods over three thousand years, THE DEVIL’S HIGHWAY is a breathtakingly original novel that challenges our dearly held assumptions about civilisation.

An ancient British boy, discovering a terrorist plot, must betray his brother to save his tribe. In the twenty-first century, two people – one traumatised by war, another by divorce – clash over the use and meaning of a landscape. In the distant future, a gang of feral children struggles to reach safety in a broken world. Their stories are linked by one ancient road, the ‘Devil’s Highway’ in the heart of England: the site of human struggles that resemble one another more than they differ.

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In March, Gregory will be speaking alongside Rachel Lichtenstein about place in writing at a special event hosted by The Manchester Writing School at Manchester Met and the International Anthony Burgess Foundation.

Visit Gregory’s website here.

Follow Gregory on Twitter here.

Gregory Norminton is a novelist, actor, playwright, and environmental activist, born in 1976. He is a Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at the Manchester Writing School. He has published five novels including SERIOUS THINGS and THE SHIP FOOLS, and two short story collections. Several short stories and dramatisations have been broadcast on BBC Radio 4. His most recent collection, THE GHOST WHO BLED was released by Comma Press last year.

Praise for THE DEVIL’S HIGHWAY

‘Satisfyingly Alan Garnereseque…. …. reminiscent of Will Self’s THE BOOK OF DAVE or Russell Hoban’s RIDDLEY WALKER’ – M. John Harrison, The Guardian

 ‘It's brilliant. The best treatment of climate change in fiction I've come across. A powerful, essential novel.’ – George Monbiot

'A big, ambitious, beautifully written book that examines, with immense sympathy and generosity, one of the greatest of all themes, place, and our complex, fraught relationship with it.' – Neel Mukherjee

‘Norminton's novel is intriguing, a cautionary examination of man's capacity for violence and the effect on the world around him.’ – SciFi Now Magazine

‘It’s a brilliant deep-time meditation on how landscapes hold – and conceal – meanings. The novel’s stories are set across three points in time, but always in the same place (a Roman road – the highway of the title – crossing southern England). It’s a powerful meditation on the damages – and the good – we have wrought, and will wreak, on the living world.’ – Robert Macfarlane, Resurgence & Ecologist, Books of the Year

 ‘THE DEVIL’S HIGHWAY is held together by place, by the persistence and frailty of the natural world, and by the havoc wreaked on it by its human inhabitants. Spanning three civilisations and their conflictual relationship with the world in which they live, the novel is also a deeply human examination of the cruelties people inflict on one another, through war and need, and of the eventual possibility of love, the only defence against the destructive force of fire.’ – Charles Lambert author of Two Dark Tales

‘This is a work of staggering imagination, of unflinching acuity, powerful, poetic and profound. Telling the story of climate breakdown through language breakdown, it magnifies the meaning of loss, portraying a devastated culture without history or literature, whose language is down to its bleached bones and yet – how those bones sing.’ – Jay Griffiths, author of Wild: An Elemental Journey

‘Impressively binds three compelling tales of different times, to one piece of land, with sinews of poetry, history and a viscerally energetic imagination’ – Laline Paull, author of The Bees

‘A striking and dazzlingly poetic meditation on the resonance of place, conflict and kinship. . . . Norminton's skilfully-wrought novel is a memorable and thought-provoking read’ – Liz Jensen, author of The Rapture

Charles Lambert’s PRODIGAL acquired by Aardvark Bureau and TWO DARK TALES launching at Belgravia Books

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Hot on the heels of TWO DARK TALES: JACK SQUAT AND THE NICHE, Aardvark Bureau – an imprint of Gallic Books - has acquired Charles Lambert’s spectacular novel, PRODIGAL. Founder and MD Jane Aitken bought UK and British Commonwealth rights, excluding Canada, from Isobel Dixon of Blake Friedmann.

Aardvark published Lambert’s chilling novel THE CHILDREN’S HOME in 2016, a title lauded by the likes of Owen King and New York Times. Demonstrating his striking versatility as a writer, Lambert’s latest offering takes a step away from the mysterious and macabre. Instead, he interrogates the nature of family, trust, death and what we do to one another in the name of love, all within the wider context of a beautiful, yet troubling, queer coming-of-age tale.

An innovative family drama told across three timelines, PRODIGAL plunges readers into the irregular life of the hapless Jeremy: a man in his late 50s trying to scrape together a living in Paris by writing ham-erotica under the lubricious guise of ‘Nathalie Cray’. When his all-but-estranged older sister, Rachel, calls to tell him that their father is on his deathbed, Jeremy reluctantly travels back to his family home in the depths of Whitstable. Confronted with a life that he was ever-eager to escape, his return marks the start of an emotionally-fraught journey into his – and Rachel’s – chequered past.

Marred by their mother’s death in a provincial Greek hospital some 20 years earlier, and, further back, by the moment at which their family fell apart, this reawakening of shared childhood and formative experience leads the siblings on a journey rife with misunderstanding and revelation, with secrets disclosed and not disclosed, with duplicity and confession, all culminating with something that may, or may not, be precarious reconciliation. PRODIGAL refuses to offer easy answers to the questions it poses: How does one live with what one has? How does one live with what one is? And, what does it mean to love and to be loved?

As ever, all the Lambert hallmarks are there: darkly polished prose, humane wit and acute psychological insights, shot throughout with threads of dark humour. The prodigal of the title – where love (and, by extension, life) is ‘a nice little tale where you have everything as you like it’ (from the DH Lawrence epigraph to the novel) – is undermined by a more complex, and ultimately more enriching, sense of humanity as something improvised, fragile and ultimately precious.

Aitken said: 'Charles Lambert’s writing just gets better and better. In tackling the complexities of familial love, he has written a novel reminiscent of St Aubyn or Hollinghurst, and the result is raw, provocative and deeply moving.’

This Thursday, Charles will attend Belgravia Books in London to celebrate the launch of the darkly intriguing TWO DARK TALES: JACK SQUAT AND THE NICHE. The novellas have already received a warm reception, with Charlotte Heathcote of S Magazine commending the stories as ‘intense and guaranteed to foster a sense of unease’. Houman Barekat of The Times Literary Supplement called JACK SQUAT ‘charming, elegantly written’ and THE NICHE ‘deeply poignant’.

 

Visit Charles’ blog

You can also follow Charles on Twitter.

 

About Charles Lambert 

 Born in England, Charles lives in Fondi, near Rome, working as a university teacher and freelance editor. He is the author of several novels including LITTLE MONSTERS and ANY HUMAN FACE (Picador) and the short story collection THE SCENT OF CINNAMON (Salt). His work is included in THE BEST OF BRITISH SHORT STORIES 2013 (Salt) and he has won an O. Henry Award and other short story prizes.

 Praise for Charles Lambert

 ‘Charles Lambert writes as if his life depends on it. He takes risks at every turn.’ –Hannah Tinti

‘Charles Lambert is a seriously good writer.' – Beryl Bainbridge

‘Compelling reading.’ – Patricia Duncker

 ‘Charles Lambert is a terrific, devious storyteller.’ – Owen King