Hawthorn & Child


Product Details

New Directions Publishing Corporation
Publish Date
5.1 X 0.8 X 7.9 inches | 0.65 pounds
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About the Author

KEITH RIDGWAY's stories and poems have appeared in various anthologies in Ireland, in New Writing 6, and the Best Irish Stories 1996. His novella Horses was published in volume 13 of Faber's Introduction series First Fictions. He lives in Dublin, Ireland.


An idiosyncratic and fascinating novel... refreshingly contemporary in language and style.--Zadie Smith
The novel that has impressed, mesmerized and bamboozled me most this past year is Hawthorn and Child by Keith Ridgway. It begins as a police procedural, then spins outwards, never quite coming back to explain the mystery. Breathtakingly unpredictable and unapologetically strange. And the writing is perfectly assured and elegant--Ian Rankin
This is a mystery novel unlike any you've ever read. It's also a great one to start with if you're usually not a mystery reader. Its strangeness is reminiscent of Beckett's work, and Ridgway is a masterful storyteller.
The London we encounter in Ridgway's unsettling new novel is a city of mystery, a cloud of fog which allows few glimpses of clarity -- despite the many attempts at crime-solving made by the two police detective protagonists. Characters, with varying levels of criminality, appear and disappear: a man shot by someone in a vintage car no one else witnesses; a potentially psychopathic editor who obsesses over a strange fantasy manuscript; a pickpocket; a daughter in the throes of her first sexual relationship. In spite of the book's general obscurity, two protagonists are fully realized, intriguing characters: exact opposites, one black, straight, good-looking, and secure; the other white, gay, and neurotic. Their appearance is always a welcome moment within each chapter. Ridgway's writing is beautiful, sardonic, and well-contained. A detective novel with many crimes and few solutions concerned more with human connection (or lack thereof) than cases and clues, Ridgway's book is successfully thought-provoking and haunting.
Hawthorn & Child has all the moody stuff of the detective genre, but no suspects, no clues, no resolution. The novel becomes an impressionistic portrait of the London they see.