Valiant Gentlemen


Product Details

$18.00  $16.74
Grove Press
Publish Date
5.5 X 8.2 X 1.6 inches | 1.1 pounds

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About the Author

Sabina Murray grew up in Australia and the Philippines and is currently a member of the MFA faculty at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She is the author of Tales of the New World, A Carnivore's Inquiry, Forgery, and The Caprices, which won the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction.


* One of the New York Times 100 Notable Books of 2016
* A New York Times Editors' Choice
* A Washington Post Notable Fiction Book of 2016
* One of the Washington Independent Review of Books Top 25 Books of 2016

"A novel as vigorous, audacious and unpredictable as Casement himself . . . [Murray] translates the past into a present as immediate as it is unnerving." --David Leavitt, New York Times Book Review

"Written beautifully, from the point of view of a writer who cares deeply . . . That the novel can be so despairingly honest about a writer's limitations while still be so entertaining says a lot about Murray's considerable talent." --Brock Clarke, Boston Globe

"A big, ambitious book . . . [with] intelligence and sly prose . . . Murray is canny in tracing the near-imperceptible stages by which Casement and Ward land on opposite sides of bitterly divisive issues . . . She has a knack for alluding to the era's public events and concerns in a manner that lets us understand their impact and influence without her laboring over their details--an indispensable gift for a historical novelist . . . [A] wise, illuminating novel." --Michael Upchurch, Washington Post

"Expansive . . . Nimbly shifting continents, decades, and political alliances, Sabina Murray does a brilliant job imbuing grand chunks of black and white history with color-breathing fire. Yet there is a haunted feel to the novel . . . Valiant Gentlemen recreates an entire, magnificent era, exploring identity, friendship, marriage, love, and grief, tracing the days of two great men from passionate youth to disenchanted old age. Upstanding men who chased ideals that would never be realized, who never viewed themselves as valiant or worthy enough for the age in which they lived. Men who Murray has, through the power of her keen writing and sweeping insight, resurrected, letting the heroism of their lives outshine their small and human frailties." --Siobhan Fallon, New York Journal of Books

"[Murray] ingeniously links two young friends . . . ultimately the novel is an imaginative exploration of the tragedy of lost friendship." --Los Angeles Times

"A rich, compulsively readable story of friendship, colonialism, and the burden of moral ambiguity . . . an engrossing novel, by turns dark and funny, incisive and tender--an I-can't-talk-now-I'm-deep-in-Africa kind of read . . . Murray's language is gorgeously devastating, succinct and muscular, hefting multiple meanings . . . Virtually every word vibrates with under- and overtones. Images are nuanced; verbs surprise and delight . . . Murray shows perfect pitch in dialogue, along with an uncanny ability to define character, provide exposition, and develop the plot, sometimes all within the same sentence . . . a leisurely, penetrating rumination on loving relationships, on loyalty, on the meaning of valor, on betrayal, on the nature of civilization, and on the excruciating fun of storytelling itself." --Washington Independent Review of Books

"Richly researched, Murray's epic rendering of [this] story takes a deep dive into [a] volatile era." --Toronto Star

"This book reveals an impressive breadth of research, which Murray naturally weaves into her vibrant scenes." --Dallas News

"What Murray's novel does very well is recreate the surprise and fascination of these men's lives." --VICE

"Murray's meticulous attention to historical detail . . . is an engaging read filled with vivid characters and edifying perspectives. It will appeal to history buffs as well as readers of literary fiction." --Winnipeg Free Press

"A fascinating, moving and epic account of the friendship between two men over 33 years . . . With a wide canvas of history before her, Murray explores the notions of national identity, foreign rule and resistance, love, personality, friendship and betrayal, social justice, suffrage, cruelties suffered by indigenous peoples, and of course war. It's a difficult trick to allow your characters to age and wrestle with self-doubt and the disappointments of the world. Murray carries this off convincingly." --Missourian

"Brimming with exquisite detail and clever humor . . . [Murray] maintains an impressive balance of historical accuracy and dramatic momentum, crafting a stellar fiction that shows how the grand course of history can be shaped by the smallest disagreements between friends." --Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"An affecting novel about the unraveling of friendship under the buffetings of history. It's wise enough and good enough to put on the shelf next to Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall novels." --Library Journal

"Sabina Murray's Valiant Gentlemen is an adventure set amid the secret history of the modern world--the personal revolutions inside the revolutionary Roger Casement, a man who took part in or bore witness to so much of the history we live with now, brought to vivid, thrilling life here. This novel is made out of history but is every bit a modern marvel." --Alexander Chee, author of The Queen of the Night

"Readers will claim this masterpiece of a novel is a big book, and in terms of being Sabina Murray's magnum opus, it certainly is. But Valiant Gentlemen was far too short for my passions, and when I consumed the last page I felt bereft for days, silently begging the author for more. On this side of the Atlantic, Murray is our Hilary Mantel." --Bob Shacochis, author of The Woman Who Lost Her Soul