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Now We Shall Be Entirely Free: The Waterstones Scottish Book of the Year 2019

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But there’s an intimacy to the way he inhabits his characters that makes them feel modern and natural. It's partly a sense of being kept at arms length from him, that puzzles me but perhaps it's a metaphor for his dissociation with his past? As characters traverse the length and breadth of the country, a Britain is evoked that seems entirely plausible and yet frighteningly strange. The second sentence in the book makes reference to the left hand horse of a pair in tandem and this simply makes no sense. When John finds himself eating in the same hotel bedroom as Emily, Miller describes how: “Hehe could not get the word fucking out of his head.

Can I tell you again (and possibly again) about the beauty of Miller’s writing or how entertaining this was to read? We don’t share your credit card details with third-party sellers, and we don’t sell your information to others.

Both the Hebridean setting and the idea of an innocent man being chased by people he doesn’t know may even remind readers of “The Thirty-Nine Steps,” John Buchan’s classic adventure novel. Recently on Twitter, when the topic of the latest Booker Prize shortlist came up, I commented that I’ve starting paying more attention to other prize lists when scouting for books to read. Peace and quiet are conveyed by Nell's calm , sure ministering of John betraying however John's inner turmoil over guilt and post trauma of war.

Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how New Statesman Media Group may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications. With lyrical writing and a perfectly paced plot, the tension of the impending confrontation mounts whilst allowing the reader to become attached to the main characters. One of the themes running through the book is damage – physical, mental and emotional – so it’s notable that Emily is losing her sight and Cornelius is plagued by dental pain.Following Captain John Lacroix, who managed to survive the British army’s horrendous retreat through Spain whilst battling Napoleon, the reader quickly discovers his desire to run from his past. He sets out to escape being forced back into service, to escape his own conscience and, if possible, seek some redemption. And I won't spoil it, but the pay off was not quite as satisfying as it should be and felt a bit damp. Now We Shall be Entirely Free is the first of Andrew Millar's novels that I have read but it certainly won't be the last. The rapturously acclaimed new novel by the Costa Award-winning author of PURE , hailed as 'excellent', 'gripping', 'as suspenseful as any thriller', 'engrossing', 'moving' and 'magnificent'.

This is a powerful, moving and magnificent novel, that certainly deserves to be read by a wide audience. From the opening paragraphs the reader is informed that the setting is 1809, more than two centuries ago. He is Captain John Lacroix, home from Britain's disastrous campaign against Napoleon's forces in Spain.

Having been raised in a foundlings’ gulag in London in which the children were given dangerous work and little food, he is a runtish, emotionally deadened character who nevertheless feels loyalty to the army, his adopted parent. The central tension for the reader is that Lacroix, despite his taciturn nature and his obvious war damage, seems like a decent man. The pacing of his story is excellent; his style is crisp; his apprehension of pain is arresting; and his ability to show people trembling at the edge of unreason is compelling. I cared so little that I wasn’t even curious about revelations about the mystery that drove the whole chase (and it was obvious in the middle of the book, I waited for a twist that never came). By contrast, as Lacroix travels through Britain he finds himself exposed to muggers, swindlers and thieves.

Once an army was in retreat, humiliated, starving, and no longer with any meaningful leadership, some men lost all their humanity and decency. The Optimists (2005) is another novel about atrocity and responsibility, but set in an unspecified African country with similarities to Rwanda during the genocide, while The Crossing (2015) takes place partly offshore, in a boat. In the end, the reader is left unchanged but with a sense of having enjoyed a brief and worthwhile exposure to a handful of obscure, troubled lives.Meanwhile in Spain the English army is pressured to investigate war crimes English soldiers committed in Spanish village, the English and Spanish soldiers are sent to hunt the officer responsible. There is a lot of suffering in the novel: that harsh experience, grief, and failure should make us welcome, not turn away from, joy is one of the lessons Lacroix struggles to learn and that Miller, indirectly, offers us in our turn.

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