'A young man not much over thirty, tall with ink-dark hair and a serious-looking, fine-featured but pallid face, went to keep a business appointment and discovered a hanged man' Lorimer Black - young, good-looking, but with a somewhat troubled expression - does not understand why his world is being torn apart, though he does know that for the most ...
'A young man not much over thirty, tall with ink-dark hair and a serious-looking, fine-featured but pallid face, went to keep a business appointment and discovered a hanged man' Lorimer Black - young, good-looking, but with a somewhat troubled expression - does not understand why his world is being torn apart, though he does know that for the most part it is made up of bluster and hypocrisy. His business, trying to keep insurance companies from paying out the money they've promised, is a con game run with the protection of the law. One winter's morning, Lorimer goes to keep a perfectly routine business appointment and finds a hanged man. A bad start to the day, by any standards, and an ominous portent of things to come. Penguin Street Art: Hawksmoor by Peter Ackroyd / Armadillo by William Boyd/ And The Ass Saw the Angel by Nick Cave / What a Carve Up by Jonathan Coe/ Americana by Don DeLillo/ Then We Came to the End by Joshua Ferris/ The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid/ The Believers by Zoe Heller/ How to Be Good by Nick Hornby/ Lights out for the Territory by Iain Sinclair
Publishers Weekly, 1998-07-27 The ever inventive Boydæwhose highly praised first novel, A Good Man in Africa, was followed by others set in Africa and America, sets this latest work in contemporary London, which he observes with the close attention of someone seeing it for the first time. In fact, his protagonist, Lorimer Black, is not exactly a native: his ancestry derives from an obscure Central European Gypsy clan who made it to London after the war. Lorimer is the only truly Anglicized one among them, from his name to his careful sense of what to wear and say on every occasion. He is a loss adjuster at a big insurance company, whose day begins unsettlingly with the suicide of an insured client he was about to visit. Then a new hotel building, mysteriously overinsured, burns down, and his boss, the overbearing and cheerfully philosophical Mr. Hogg, seems to want Lorimer to investigate. A dreadful new colleague comes into his life and tries to make Lorimer his best friend; Lorimer falls hard for a mysterious actress glimpsed in one of his company's TV commercials; his car is vandalized, and he is attacked in the street; his elderly father dies suddenly; and Hogg turns nasty and fires him. Throughout all this, poor Lorimer, stricken with a severe sleep disorder, tries to get some rest at a sleep clinic where he seeks what he calls "lucid dreams," whichæunlike his waking lifeæhe can control. Boyd's comic writing is zesty and brilliantly on-target about contemporary Londoners, high and low, and Lorimer's adventures have enough of an alarming edge to keep a reader constantly, and delightedly, off balance. The only flaw in an otherwise sparkling performance is an odd and unlikely journal Lorimer keeps, which is designed to fill the gaps in his previous life, but which never sounds like anything other than the author's voice. Editor, Vicky Wilson; agent: Georges Borchardt. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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