The Cloths of Heaven

The Cloths of Heaven

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AS HEARD ON BBC RADIO 4 WOMAN'S HOUR Part love story, part journey of discovery and part comedy of manners, Sue Eckstein's captivating novel explores a disparate group of expatriates in West Africa and their complicated ties to the country, its people and to each other. When new diplomat Daniel Maddison arrives in Bakinabe nothing is quite as it seems or what he imagined it would be. Isabel Redmond is tiring of her husband's fascination with black women's breasts; the High Commissioner and his wife, Fenella, are both enjoying illicit affairs; an old English judge is wandering through the scrub following a tribe of Fulani herdsmen; Bob Newpin is about to make a killing in timeshares; and just what Father Seamus is up to is anyone's guess. Searching for something beyond the cocktail parties, golf and gossip, Daniel finds himself drawn to people and places outside the experience of his High Commission colleagues - and specifically to a dusty warehouse in the heart of the city where a thin blonde woman is silently measuring out lengths of brightly coloured cloth. Funny, lyrical and ultimately redemptive, Sue Eckstein's assured debut about passion, loneliness and being an outsider has a deliciously intricate plot, compelling characters and razor-sharp dialogue.

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Product details

  • Paperback | 288 pages
  • 128 x 194 x 24mm | 322.05g
  • Myriad Editions
  • Brighton, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0954930983
  • 9780954930981
  • 510,479

Review quote

'A gripping new novel about ex-pat life in West Africa. A real treat.' - BRIGID KEENAN, author of Diplomatic Baggage: The Adventures of a Trailing Spouse 'Graham Greenish with a bit of Alexander McCall Smith thrown in. Very readable, very humorous - a charming first novel.' - HEPHZIBAH ANDERSON ON 'UP ALL NIGHT' RADIO 5 LIVE 'One of those brilliant books that offers an easy, entertaining read in the first instance, only to worm its way deeper into your mind. A modern Graham Greene - fabulous...fictional gold.' - THE ARGUS 'A fascinating novel - rich in dialogue with finely and sensitively drawn characters. If you like Armistead Maupin, Graham Greene or Barbara Trapido, you'll love this.' BOOKGROUP.INFO 'Populated by a cast of miscreants and misfits this debut novel by playwright Eckstein is a darkly comic delight.' - CHOICE MAGAZINE 'Evocative, intriguing and with splashes of a modern Evelyn Waugh.' - CAROLINE SMAILES 'A fantastically well-executed novel...the book is a joy to read. It is intriguing, exciting and just beautifully written.' - BOOKERSATZ 'A delightful book, likely you'll read it at one sitting it's quite difficult to put down once you're pulled in.' - THOUGHTS FROM BOTSWANA 'I couldn't put this novel down...Eckstein's book will contribute to an important body of fiction written about the continuing relationship between African and European countries. Her background with VSO and now her work in medical ethics ensures that her perspective is informed, intelligent and demanding. This incisive intellect also delivers some fascinating, complex characters who won't necessarily behave the way you expect.'- JACKIE WILLS 'The Cloths of Heaven is a treasure. The scented evenings, heavily weighted with West African heat, seemed to rise from the pages as I read. The characters are unexpectedly real. At times I felt an inkling of what it must feel like to be a stalker; that urge to vicariously experience more of another's life, the reluctance to be parted from them. I felt a slight sense of grief as the novel ended simply because it finished so perfectly and, I wanted to spend more time in their world.'- CHEZ ASPIE 'Marvellous on several good a page-turner as a thriller, with the lingering and satisfying afterglow of the best literary novels. When you've bought one copy and read it, you will probably find yourself buying more as gifts for friends.' - BRITAIN-NIGERIA EDUCATIONAL TRUST 'A wonderful story...The picture of the diplomatic life is spot-on...The setting is a fictional part of West Africa but it's so well realised that you feel as though you've been there. It's a multi-stranded story with all the different threads skilfully woven together. I would happily have read a great deal more. Splendid stuff.' - THE BOOKBAG

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About Sue Eckstein

Sue Eckstein (1959-2013) worked for VSO for many years in London, Bhutan and the Gambia, lectured at Brighton and Sussex Medical School and had a DPhil in creative writing from the University of Sussex. Her plays include The Tuesday Group, first performed in London in 2003, as well as Kaffir Lilies ('Really wonderful - a first rate production' Nell Dunn), Laura and Old School Ties ('Sparky and intriguing, written and performed with a real edge' Guardian) all for BBC Radio 4. The Cloths of Heaven is her first novel; Myriad has also published her second novel, Interpreters (Winner of The People's Book Prize 2013).

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