Author(s): Jonathan Raban
The long-awaited follow up to Jonathan Raban's last, critically acclaimed novel, Waxwings. Lucy Bengstrom had always dreamed of living in Seattle. From her remote childhood home, it seemed an Oz – a city of possibilities and fantastic, distant pleasures. But now, in 2005, living alone with her eleven-year-old daughter Alida, things seem less clear-cut. Post 9/11, the promise of homeland security and the implication of severe vulnerability are closely bound together. When Lucy is asked to write about August Vanagas, a reclusive international bestselling author, Lucy becomes intrigued by his story. His memoir of his childhood as an orphaned boy adrift in Europe during the Second World War seems to reveal the most painful of truths – but the more she learns, the more questions she has... To Alida's generation – plugged into iPods, used to having their lives watched and documented – the virtual world is as important (if not more so) than the real one. She and her school friends defer to The Geek, giving him muffins and doughnuts in exchange for his knowledge of writing computer codes that promise make their websites ever cooler. Struggling to interpret her world, Alida gathers information about her family and friends in the hope she can develop a human algebra which will help make sense of the way people are. Who can you trust when the lines between fact and fiction become so blurred?
"'Raban sees America with an incomer's clarity and a resident's affection' Spectator '[Raban's] views, ironic and humane, are always acute; always illuminating. His prose - agile, musky, particular - is a treasure' Guardian"
Jonathan Raban is the author several award-wininning novels. His work has appeared in the New Yorker, Granta, Harpers, the Guardian and other publications. In 1990 Raban, a British citizen, moved from London to Seattle, where he now lives with his daughter.