Author(s): EVANS PATRICK
Raymond Thomas Lawrence was one of the great literary colossi to bestride the twentieth century. He turned his upbringing in conservative Canterbury and participation in the Algerian War of Independence into a series of novels that dazzled the world, and eventually won him the Nobel Prize for Literature. Seven years after Lawrence's death, however, the four trustees of the literary trust set up to memorialize New Zealand's greatest writer are facing rising costs and dwindling visitor numbers at the Residence. While fending off a self-appointed biographer, they find themselves confronting the secrets of their own intimate relationships with The Master. 'But is bumping off biographers really the sort of thing literary trusts do?' Marjorie creaks. 'Don't we just handle copyright?' The Back of His Head is a hilarious and troubling satire on the making and manipulation of literary fame, by the author of the acclaimed novel Gifted.
This is very sharp satire, with witty and tight dialogue and characters that you won’t like. Our main protagonist is the custodian of a famous writer’s residence. Self-important to the point of absurdity, Peter Orr, the self-appointed leader of the literary trust, is desparate to get his fellow trustees to take their roles seriously, get to board meetings and make the decisions that he thinks are favourable. With the literary trust at breaking point, interest dwindling in the ‘great man’ Raymond Thomas Lawrence, and the house in need of repairs, Peter Orr is feeling under siege. Evans explores what fame means, pokes a finger at literary establishments and explores the relationships that exist between the trustees and their ‘Master’. - Stella
Long-listed for Ockham New Zealand Book Awards - Fiction 2016.
Patrick Evans is the author of three previous novels and a number of plays. His other books include "The Penguin History of New Zealand Literature" (1990), " The Long Forgetting: Postcolonial Literary Culture in New Zealand" (2007), "An Inward Sun: The Novels of Janet Frame" (1971) and" Janet Frame "(1977).