Chris Paling has a wonderfully accurate and intimate way of describing that trapdoor underneath our society. Very moving
Hugo Hamilton, author of THE SPECKLED PEOPLE
Paling is a great thing among British writers - he keeps on experimenting
This beguiling novel moves quietly from the humorous to the harrowing to the gently hopeful. At its heart is Jane, a young woman struggling with mental illness. Her son, Billy, was taken away from her some years ago. He's now 11, and so long as she can manage to appear outwardly 'normal
they get to see one another every few months. A visit is imminent when a story in the local newspaper catapults Jane back into her troubled past. Luckily she has people to look out for her, including Alf, a grumpy yet tender-hearted pensioner, Sugar Plum Fairy, her friend from the loony bin, and Patrick, a flirty gay bookseller who sees her foibles as sings of passionate individualism. Meanwhile, Billy is plotting his escape from sterile foster parents, back to Jane. It's his actions that will lead her to confront the legacy of her own damaged childhood.
From the Same Author
Reilly is an impoverished painter who lives alone in a shabby garret, with only his unsold canvases and his faithful dog Nimrod for company. He seems destined to remain in artistic obscurity until the most influential art critic of the time begins to notice his talent. But no sooner has he found a patron than the critic is found drowned in a local canal and the trail leads directly back to Reilly. From Reilly’s prison cell in Edwardian London to an exclusive gallery in contemporary Soho, the clues that lead to the real murderer lie carefully hidden, until the day when Samantha, a young office assistant, finds herself drawn to one of Reilly’s pictures and decides to embark on her own investigation … Steeped in atmosphere and laced with intrigue, Nimrod’s Shadow is a gripping tale of genius, jealousy and revenge – with a few twists and turns along the way.