Undermajordomo Minor | Granta

  • Published: 02/06/2016
  • ISBN: 9781847088727
  • 129x20mm
  • 304 pages

Undermajordomo Minor

Patrick deWitt

Lucien (Lucy) Minor is the resident odd duck in the bucolic hamlet of Bury. Friendless and loveless, young and aimless, he is a compulsive liar and a melancholy weakling. When Lucy accepts employment assisting the majordomo of the remote, forbidding castle of the Baron Von Aux he meets thieves, madmen, aristocrats, and a puppy. He also meets Klara, a delicate beauty who is, unfortunately, already involved with an exceptionally handsome partisan soldier. Thus begins a tale of polite theft, bitter heartbreak, domestic mystery and cold-blooded murder in which every aspect of human behaviour is laid bare for our hero to observe. Lucy must stay safe, and protect his puppy, because someone or something is roaming the corridors of the castle late at night.

Undermajordomo Minor is a triumphant ink-black comedy of manners by the Man Booker shortlisted author of The Sisters Brothers. It is an adventure story, and a mystery, and a searing portrayal of rural Alpine bad behaviour with a brandy tart, but above all it is a love story. And Lucy must be careful, for love is a violent thing.

From its pitch-perfect opening onwards, it's clear from the unusual atmosphere and droll narration that deWitt has created a unique fictional universe... The challenge for the reader is to resist the temptation to devour a novel which should be savoured

Max Lui, Independent

With Undermajordomo Minor the contours of the deWittian landscape have come into sharper relief... It's told in a style that is now recognisably deWittian too: dreamlike scenes are recounted in meticulous prose... [An] uproariously perverted fairy tale

Jon Day, Daily Telegraph

Immensely entertaining... It insists on being read at a single sitting - it is that readable and funny... It has to be hoped that Patrick deWitt had as much fun writing this stylish caper as readers will have devouring it

Eileen Battersby, Irish Times

The Author

Patrick Dewitt’s writing has appeared in several US magazines and anthologies. His first novel, Ablutions, was published by Granta Books in 2009. He had previously published a short book of random writings and bad advice, Help Yourself Help Yourself. His second novel, The Sisters Brothers won the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, the Govenor General Literary Award and was shortlisted for the 2011 Man Booker Prize. He lives in Portland, Oregon.

More about the author →

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Neel Mukherjee and Patrick deWitt discuss their books Undermajordomo Minor and The Lives of Others, subconscious influence, the power of the exclamation mark and love.

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Lucy the Liar

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‘Tell me it’s a lie, now. Will you say that it is?’

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Patrick deWitt & Ted Hodgkinson

‘The question of whether or not I’m addressing America in my writing only comes up with people outside of America.’