Lucas Salik, eminent surgeon, is accustomed to performing bold experiments on other people's hearts. Many might think him cold-hearted, but Lucas is in love with Hal Darbo and sees his desperate, tenuous hold on him slipping away with Hal's intention to marry. With his friend and confidante Anne Cowdenbeath, Lucas embarks on an experiment far ...Read MoreLucas Salik, eminent surgeon, is accustomed to performing bold experiments on other people's hearts. Many might think him cold-hearted, but Lucas is in love with Hal Darbo and sees his desperate, tenuous hold on him slipping away with Hal's intention to marry. With his friend and confidante Anne Cowdenbeath, Lucas embarks on an experiment far odder than any that takes place in his working life. His subject is Cora, a young girl without family ties and ripe for emotional vivisection. But blood sports turn out to be more dangerous than anticipated and sinister happenings begin to disrupt the surgeon's tidy plan ...'Very fresh, very sharp, and as memorable as a nightmare. It is a brilliant and distinguished book. I was astounded by it' Peter Levi 'Poised, startling and innovative ...an astonishingly accomplished writer' Anita Brookner 'This writing is so extraordinary that I am tempted to call it an opera. It is a high and extravagant style, voluptuous, avid and epigrammatic, passionate and risky' Sunday Telegraph 'For sheer flair, this is a debut of the highest promise' Sunday TimesRead Less
Publishers Weekly, 1988-04-08 As noted London heart surgeon Lucas Salik begins his account of recent events in his life, this first novel appears to be merely a tale of sexual obsession, albeit a brilliantly told one. Lucas is blindly in love with the much younger Hal, who embodies the ideal Britonblond, landed, upper-classthat Polish-born Lucas can never be. When Hal suddenly decides to marry, Lucas sets him up with Cora, in hopes that Hal will soon tire of her and return to him. Just as Lucas's plan seems to be working smoothly, the story bursts open and the narrative voice switches to Cora, who has her own reasons for marrying Hal. Cora is sharp-eyed when it comes to showing Hal as a shallow cad with bleached hair, but she is myopic when it comes to herself, mistakenly believing that her motivations are hidden to others. When Anne, Lucas's best friend, narrates her version of events, the tale becomes full-blown, exploding with intrigue, suspicion, violenceand love. Hal's short contribution at the finale brings yet more surprises. Readers are vividly given to understand how the ``truth'' of a situation is dependent on the participants' perceptions and desires. McWilliam creates indelible characters, from the pathetically elegant surgeon to his savage, feline nemesis (ironically named Angelica). (May)
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