'I was never so amazed in my life as when the Sniffer drew his concealed weapon from its case and struck me to the ground, stone dead.' So begins the story of Connor 'Gil' Gilmartin when he catches his wife in flagrante with the Sniffer, his former colleague and now his murderer. Unfortunately, death is only the first indignity Gil is about to ...
'I was never so amazed in my life as when the Sniffer drew his concealed weapon from its case and struck me to the ground, stone dead.' So begins the story of Connor 'Gil' Gilmartin when he catches his wife in flagrante with the Sniffer, his former colleague and now his murderer. Unfortunately, death is only the first indignity Gil is about to suffer. For he lingers on as a ghost, and from this bleak vantage - made even less endurable by the fact that he must spend the afterlife sitting beside his killer at a film festival - he is forced to view the exploits and failures of his ancestors, from the forerunners who sailed up the Hudson to Canada during the American Revolution to his university-professor parents.
Publishers Weekly, 1992-10-19 Davies's fans will not be disappointed by this clever novel, narrated posthu mously by a newspaper editor cuck olded and killed by a film critic. (Dec.)
Publishers Weekly, 1991-09-06 The unexpected conceit devised by the author of the Deptford trilogy will surprise but likely not disappoint his fans. Shortly into the first chapter, narrator Connor Gilmartin, entertainment editor for a Canadian newspaper, is killed by his wife's lover, the paper's unctuous film critic, after coming upon the pair in his marital bed. Gil is astonished to find himself invisibly present at the scene, observing the craven retreat of the critic and his wife's subsequent tale to the police about her husband's fight with a burglar. Gil's next shock is learning that his fate is now tied to his murderer's and requires his joining the critic at an archival film festival. The films Gil sees, however, depict his personal history, powerfully presenting the lives of many of his ancestors. Notable among them are Anna Gage from 18th-century New York City, who takes her three children up the Hudson River in a canoe to Canada after her husband, an English officer, is killed at Breed's Hill; and a story-telling Methodist preacher in Wales. Gil's growing admiration for these flawed, courageous people reminds him of conversations with a metaphysically inclined friend who once advised him, ``Feel before you think!'' Relating this murder story with his customary wit, Davies resolves it to the reader's satisfaction, but the real treat is in Gil's posthumous growth to compassion and understanding. ``We live and learn, yes,'' he observes. ``But we die and learn, too, it appears.'' 75,000 first printing. (Nov.)
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