Subtle Bodies | Granta

  • Published: 05/06/2014
  • ISBN: 9781847087812
  • 129x20mm
  • 256 pages

Subtle Bodies

Norman Rush

Ned and Nina are trying to conceive, so when Ned jets off with no notice to the funeral of Douglas, a mysterious friend from his student days, Nina follows him so they can have sex on time. Douglas was the ringleader of a fellowship of chums at NYU and Nina is baffled by the extraordinary hold the group – and Douglas in particular – have on Ned. The novel explores the reconfiguring and reappraisal of the clique following Douglas’s tragic death. Subtle Bodies asks why we make the friends we do, why we keep them and how we make sense of our personal histories. It is a wise, funny and keenly observed portrayal of shifting relationships and new truths emerging from old certainties. Like all of Rush’s work it embodies the dictum ‘fiction is truth told excessively and beautifully’. It is a warm-hearted and pitch-perfect master class in the art of the novel.

Norman Rush is a master writer, every line of Subtle Bodies fizzes with a wry wisdom. It's a privilege to enter his mind, to be entranced by his take on people, the universe, and the enterprise of living

William Nicholson, author, Motherland

Rain and damp combine with the Rush-dried tone to create a swamp of sticky dark humour in which the reader is happy to be stranded

Geoff Dyer, New York Times Book Review

[Rush's] fiction is shot through with utopian yearnings, which it both gentle satirizes and forthrightly explores... Subtle Bodies flickers with the possibility of a utopian politics rooted in love and friendship... Well-observed... a great writer

Thomas Meaney, TLS

The Author

Norman Rush is the author of four books; Whites, Mating (winner of the National Book Award), Mortals and Subtle Bodies. His stories have appeared in the New Yorker, the Paris Review and Best American Short Stories. He and his wife Elsa were Co-Directors of the Peace Corps program in Botswana. They now live in upstate New York.

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