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The End of Nightwork

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Pol’s condition of course links to the Kourist/Hoarist conflict and Playfere’s prophecies to the risks of climate change – all interwoven with myriad generational conflicts, …….. but as I implied with my opening remarks the threads don’t form quite the completed tapestry I had hoped for.

But with his condition dormant, Pol and his wife Caroline manage to live an ordinary life in London. Oh, the journey this book and I went on. I loved Booth/Harry! His moral code reminded me of early Dexter... but with less death ;) Harry Booth started stealing at nine to keep a roof over his ailing mother’s head, slipping into luxurious, empty homes at night to find items he could trade for precious cash. When his mother finally succumbed to cancer, he left Chicago—but kept up his nightwork.The End of Nightwork’s apparently discursive style, moving from the mundane to the fantastical with dry humour and piercing observation, masks its clever interweaving of ideas: on how our physical bodies both define and belie who we are, the significance of age in political and social life, the power of cults to mobilise and persuade, how unreliable fragments of memory shape our identity as individuals, families and cultures. Having said that I would not necessarily say that it will be one of the best as I felt that the myriad of adjacent-ish ideas in it failed to completely coalesce by the end in the way that much of the novel seemed to promise. The End of Nightwork is a novel to savour, poignant and quietly devastating. I kept turning it over in my mind after I had finished reading it, and the more I thought about it, the more I saw.

You may change or cancel your subscription or trial at any time online. Simply log into Settings & Account and select "Cancel" on the right-hand side. Aidan Cottrell-Boyce's The End of Nightwork features on the Guardian/Observer's usually highly prescient 10 best new novelists list for 2023. Son of author Frank Cottrell Boyce, he explained to the Guardian that the novel grew out of the “30,000 words of madness” he sent an agent who saw his short fiction in the avant garde quarterly the White Review and asked what else he was writing after they played football together. Nightwork" follows Harry Booth who at age 9 starts stealing to support his mother who is undergoing chemotherapy treatments. When his mother eventually dies, Harry still keeps stealing and breaking into homes hence the title of this book. Harry eventually meets a woman called Miranda and starts to think about a different future, but is threatened by someone who wants to use his skills.This one just wasn't for me :(. I want to feel conflicted about rooting for a morally grey character but I just didn't feel anything for Booth. So of you do like him, then this could be a winner for you!

Forgotten the title or the author of a book? Our BookSleuth is specially designed for you. Visit BookSleuth At the 57% mark it got slightly better because we stayed in one location for a longer period of time, but by that time I just wanted to finish this. However, the plot took an unexpected turn, it was something I’d expect in a rom com. Mantel does something brilliant in this book: identifying the analogy between the prophetic experience – living outside time – and the experience of trauma. Alison Hart – a medium and survivor of childhood abuse – lives between worlds, between the past and the present, between the living and the dead, between the astral plane and Aldershot.

Aidan Cottrell-Boyce's debut novel The End of Nightwork is a witty, deft examination of the body as a site of trauma and change

The End of Nightwork is a satisfyingly odd novel. It is both an urgent grappling with the frightening times we live in and a meditation on what Chaucer called “the woe that is in marriage”. Harry is also just kind of blah. I also wasn't in the mood to root for a thief. I feel like a little bit this was a little of her trying to do another "Roarke" type character for her readers. We all know that Roarke started off stealing as a kid and of course got involved with criminal gangs in Ireland and then New York. Most of the dialogue and circumstances about him I think were supposed to read as thief with heart of gold, but I just kept rolling my eyes. Also Harry does have "relations" with other women in this book so when you get to the whole "heroine" in this one you wonder why it even matters. I will add that I think that most of the books where Nora just follows a "hero" it does not work as well for me, see my review of "Shelter in Place."

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