It's the day before Mike Frame's fiftieth birthday and his quiet provincial life is suddenly falling apart. But perhaps it doesn't matter, because it's not his life in the first place. He has a past that his partner Miranda and step-daughter Sam know nothing about, lived under another name amidst the turbulence of the revolutionary armed struggle of the 1970s. Now Mike is seeing ghosts - a dead ex-lover and an old friend who wants to reminisce. Mike can no longer ignore the contradiction between who he is and who he once was. Which side was he on back then? And which side is he on now?
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(198mm x 129mm x 18mm)
Penguin Books Ltd
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
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US Kirkus Review »
An idealistic commitment to political and social change resonates throughout three decades in the Anglo-Indian author's vivid third novel.Kunzru's latest traces the two lives of one man: Now a middle-aged house husband going by the name "Michael Frame," the protagonist was once Chris Carver, a university student turned bomb-throwing revolutionary. The story begins in 1998 when "Michael," living comfortably with his partner Miranda (who has prospered with a line of "natural" women's beauty products) and her teenaged daughter, panics and flees following a vacation to France during which he sees, or thinks he sees, a former comrade, Anna. The problem: Michael has good reason to believe that the fiery Anna was shot to death in a botched terrorist plot in 1975. Further complications arise when Michael encounters another fellow protester from the '60s, Miles Bridgeman - and is pressured to assist the ever-opportunistic Miles in a scheme for hire to discredit an up-and-coming Labour politician with a hidden history of radical activism. Michael's journey subsequently becomes a double narrative in which efforts to elude the consequences of a long-abandoned life are deftly counterpointed with a chronicle of his lower-middle-class beginnings, education and political enlightenment at the London School of Economics, and initially enthusiastic, eventually sobered participation in protest activities that turned violent after President Nixon sent troops into Cambodia in 1975. Kunzru (Transmission, 2004, etc.) recreates the passionate energies of the '70s quite convincingly, channeling the history of a British radical group called Angry Brigade and dramatizing the fluctuations of Chris's unrealized hopes in blistering conversational exchanges (including a particularly memorable one during an explosive "Criticism-Self-Criticism" session among self-proclaimed revolutionaries).A considerably more ambitious and searching work than its predecessors. (Kirkus Reviews)
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Author Biography - Hari Kunzru
Hari Kunzru is the author of the novels The Impressionist, Transmission, My Revolutions and Gods Without Men, and the story collection Noise. He lives in New York and his next novel, White Tears, will be published by Hamish Hamilton in spring 2017.