Philip Hensher has written nine novels, including The Mulberry Empire, the Booker-shortlisted The Northern Clemency, King of the Badgers and Scenes from Early Life, which won the Ondaatje Prize in 2012. He is Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Bath Spa and lives in south London and Geneva.
`This is a profoundly generous and good-hearted book, one that leaves you missing its characters as you would fondly remembered friends. Hensher is one of our most gifted novelists and this is certainly his best novel yet' Guardian `Sometimes today even clearly talented novelists don't seem interested in trying to show us how people actually think, feel and live. Hensher does all this, and does it with sympathy and intelligence. Years ago he wrote a marvellous novel, The Mulberry Empire. I thought it unlikely he would ever do anything better, but he has' Scotsman `Hensher's novel is well-observed and often incisive ... with sustained concentration and a satirical gaze, he examines the markers of status that underpin the beliefs of so many in this story' TLS `Slyly plotted ... unlike many a modern novel it is full of interesting characters who do - and say - interesting things' The Tablet `It is Hensher's superbly subtle awareness of the difficulties in the way of true engagement and true relationships that makes the late flowering, gloriously argumentative friendship in this novel infinitely touching' Spectator `Hensher's 11th novel is his biggest and most ambitious yet' Mail on Sunday `At the heart of this kind and profound book, though, is something serious: Hensher's sense of how deeply the histories that neighbours keep from each other run, how unthinkable are the experiences of violence and betrayal that some people endure, how terribly families are torn asunder by their different allegiances, and how hard it is, in the end, to make peace with that' Financial Times 'Marvellous Daily Mail `Beautifully written and intelligent new novel ... It's mesmerising' Attitude `Majestic ... reminiscent of an engrossing yet challenging Victorian classic' Independent