Charles Lambert’s PRODIGAL longlisted for the Polari Prize 2019

PRODIGAL by Charles Lambert UK cover.jpg

Charles Lambert’s novel PRODIGAL, published by Gallic Books in August 2018, has been longlisted for the Polari Prize 2019. The prize honours writers “whose work explores the LGBT experience, whether in poetry, prose, fiction, or nonfiction”. While there has previously been a Polari First Book Prize, this year is the first time that there will be an award given to an established writer also. The shortlist will be announced at a special Polari Salon at the Southbank Centre on 26 July and the winner announced in October during the London Literature Festival.

PRODIGAL is a fearless, elegantly written exploration of family, trust, death, and what we do to one another in the name of love, told within the wider context of a beautiful yet troubling, queer coming-of-age tale.

Jeremy, a hapless man in his late 50s, scrapes together a living in Paris by writing soft-core pornography under the saucy guise of ‘Nathalie Cray’. When his all-but-estranged sister tells him their father is on his deathbed, Jeremy reluctantly travels back to his parental home in the depths of the English countryside.

Confronted with a life that he had always been eager to escape, his return marks the start of an emotionally fraught journey into the family’s chequered past. The journey takes him back to the unexpected death of his mother in a provincial Greek hospital years earlier and, further back, to the moment at which the Eldritch family fell apart.

It’s a journey composed of revelations, of secrets disclosed and not disclosed, and of something that might, or might not, be reconciliation...

Last year Charles’s novel THE CHILDREN’S HOME was included in a New York Times list of 13 Haunted Books to read before watching THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE.

Born in England, Charles lives in Fondi, near Rome, working as a university teacher and freelance editor. His first novel, LITTLE MONSTERS, a Good Housekeeping selection, was published in 2008 by Picador, the same year as THE SCENT OF CINNAMON AND OTHER STORIES (Salt Publishing), the title story of which was an O. Henry Prize winner. His second novel, ANY HUMAN FACE (Picador), was described by the Telegraph as 'a slow-burning, beautifully written crime story that brings to life the Rome that tourists don't see - luckily for them.'

In 2014, Charles’s experimental autobiography WITH A ZERO AT ITS HEART (The Friday Project) was one of the Guardian's top ten books of that year. THE CHILDREN’S HOME, a dystopic story of a haunted house, was published in 2016 to widespread praise, followed by TWO DARK TALES, in 2017, both by Gallic Books.


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.' – Dame Beryl Bainbridge

‘Compelling reading.’ – Patricia Duncker

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


Praise for THE CHILDREN’S HOME

‘A thoroughly original entry into the tradition of ghost stories, eschewing convention …compulsively readable…A one-of-a-kind literary horror story.’ – Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review

‘Lambert carefully constructs the restricted sphere that Fletcher inhabits, leaving the chaotic larger world and the source of his family fortune largely a mystery. After slowly unfolding Fletcher’s story, Lambert then accelerates the pace to a breathtaking climax. THE CHILDREN’S HOME is a magical, mesmerizing tale about the courage it takes to confront the unknown.’ – Booklist, Starred Review

‘THE CHILDREN’S HOME is like a strange dream in which you can’t quite tell if you’re awake…The resulting story is a weird, poignant journey reminiscent of Calvino that explores fear, power, revenge and redemption. Lambert’s story is addictive … its potent, often brutal, images have a lasting power.’ – Sheri Bodoh, BookPage


Visit Charles’ blog

You can also follow Charles on Twitter.

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

Charles Lambert author pic by Patrizia Casamirra 3 PREFERRED.JPG

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