Two timely explorations of male sexual violence, power and corruption
Love and hate, desire and guilt, friendship and betrayal form the coordinates of these two intensely dramatic stories of men and women caught between their irrational passions and the urge for control.
In Feathered Glory the seemingly happy marriage of a school principal and his artist wife reveals dangerous fault-lines as an old lover reappears in the husband’s life and the wife, fascinated by a charismatic wildlife rehabilitator, brings an injured swan into their home. The poignant denouement leaves every character irreversibly transformed.
The past also haunts the present in Afternoon of a Faun, where an accusation of historic sexual assault plunges Marco Rosedale, an English journalist in New York, into a series of deepening crises. Set during the months leading up to Trump’s election, this is at once a study of our shifting social and sexual mores, and a meditation on what makes us believe or disbelieve the stories of other people.
These gripping, darkly comic novellas reflect and complement each other, offering a sharply observed vision that will resonate with anyone interested in the clash of power and desire in our embattled contemporary lives.
“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.”
Frank Lawton, Literary Review
“Two superb novellas full of contemporary resonance… extraordinarily taut and compelling.”
Leyla Sanai, Spectator
“From book to book, James Lasdun gets more and more interesting. His latest, Victory, [is] due out in the UK in February... High hopes for this one.”
Bookmunch, 50 Books We're Looking Forward to in 2019
“[James Lasdun’s] electric new book… is absorbing… [it] constantly pulls the rug from under your feet.”
Anthony Cummins, Daily Mail
“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.”
Marcel Theroux, Guardian
“Darkly humorous and compelling portraits of men wrestling with guilt and desire… [Afternoon of a Faun] feels very much a novel for our times.”
Alex Preston, Guardian
“[Victory] comprises two mesmeric… impressive stories, containing beautiful descriptions and subtle twists.”
“Feathered Glory confirms Lasdun as one of the great serio-comic writers of the age. The writing, alternately poetic and razor-sharp cynical, absorbs from start to finish.”
Ian Thomson, Tablet, Novel of the Week
“Both novellas…expertly unpick the webs of deceit men weave through their lives… [with] elegant and supple prose… [and] propulsive energy… they are stories that ought to be read.”
William Skidelsky, Financial Times
“[Victory] make[s] a convincing case for James Lasdun as one of the most incisive investigators of the human heart writing today… Afternoon of a Faun…[is] an instant masterpiece that brings the taut psychological precision of a Chekhov story to a hyper-modern, post-#MeToo setting… Lasdun’s limpid, muscular prose cuts to the heart of midlife anxieties.”
Johanna Thomas-Corr, Observer
“Two stunningly well-written novellas… Contemporary in theme, these stories are timeless in their humorous, melancholy view of the pitfalls of love.”
Anne Chisholm, Tablet, *Summer reads of 2019*