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Two timely explorations of male sexual violence, power and corruption
James Lasdun's books include The Fall Guy and Give Me Everything You Have- On Being Stalked. He teaches creative writing at Columbia University and reviews regularly for the Guardian. His work has been filmed by Bernardo Bertolucci (Besieged) and he co-wrote the films Sunday, which won Best Feature and Best Screenplay awards at Sundance, and Signs and Wonders, starring Charlotte Rampling and Stellan Skarsg rd.
The word "masterpiece" is not one to throw around lightly but I
was enthralled by James Lasdun's novella Afternoon of a
Faun, from his collection Victory... it has the
psychological precision of a Chekhov story. -- Johanna
Thomas-Corr * Evening Standard *Books of the Year* *
Two superb novellas full of contemporary resonance... extraordinarily taut and compelling. * Spectator *
[Victory makes] a convincing case for James Lasdun as one of the most incisive investigators of the human heart writing in English today... an instant masterpiece. * Observer *
The novellas [in Victory] are united by Lasdun's signature virtues: a forensic attention to psychological detail, a mastery of dialogue and an all-round fluency that gives his prose a compelling swiftness. It is these virtues, more than the plots, that make Victory a triumph. * Literary Review *
Timely and irresistibly unpleasant... sure to provoke passionate discussion... [Afternoon of a Faun] lingers after you have closed the book with a vividness that testifies to the compact virtues of the novella. * Guardian *
[James Lasdun's] electric new book... is absorbing... [it] constantly pulls the rug from under your feet. * Daily Mail *
Afternoon of a Faun is a brilliantly imagined, devastatingly insightful and powerfully rendered novel of sexual exploitation and betrayal. Like all of James Lasdun's work, it is meticulously written and intelligent, both a novel of ideas and a cautionary tale for the #MeToo era. Its ending is bitterly ironic, or perhaps just darkly funny, depending upon one's perspective - and Afternoon of a Faun is about the very drama of "perspective".
In an era of sexual reckonings and "defunct male prerogatives", any decades-old fling is a ticking time bomb an ambivalent ex can choose to detonate at whim. Yet who's to say what actually happened? Afternoon of a Faun is an exquisitely rendered tale of moral arithmetic, erotic murkiness, and men's fascination with other men's scorecards. It's also Lasdun at his most pleasurably diabolical.
[Victory] comprises two mesmeric... impressive stories, containing beautiful descriptions and subtle twists. * Sunday Times, *Best Literary Novels of 2019* *
Darkly humorous and compelling portraits of men wrestling with guilt and desire... [Afternoon of a Faun] feels very much a novel for our times. * Guardian *