Katherine Carlyle

Katherine Carlyle

3.49 (459 ratings by Goodreads)
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In the late 80s, Katherine Carlyle is created using IVF. Stored as a frozen embryo for eight years, she is then implanted in her mother and given life. By the age of nineteen Katherine has lost her mother to cancer, and feels her father to be an increasingly distant figure. Instead of going to college, she decides to disappear, telling no one where she has gone. What begins as an attempt to punish her father for his absence gradually becomes a testing-ground of his love for her, a coming-to-terms with the death of her mother, and finally the mise-en-scene for a courageous leap from false empowerment to true empowerment.

Written in the beautifully spare, lucid and cinematic prose that Thomson is known for, Katherine Carlyle uses the modern techniques of IVF and cryopreservation to throw new light on the myth of origins. It is a profound and moving novel about where we come from, what we make of ourselves, and how we are loved.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 304 pages
  • 160 x 243 x 28mm | 638g
  • Corsair
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1472150619
  • 9781472150615
  • 1,093,608

Review quote

This is so good you wonder there isn't a statue to him somewhere. * Sebastian Barry, Irish Independent, Top Book Picks 2016 * Poised and crystalline prose that piles lovely sentence atop lovely sentence ... Katherine Carlyle is a substantial novel, a story told with authority about a bold woman who in abrogating some of her many privileges hopes to find new meaning for her young life. * International New York Times * An unnerving, unputdownable road trip from Rome to the far north, narrated by a young woman who, through the wonders of science, was "born twice" * Guardian, best fiction of 2015 * My novel of the year is Rupert Thomson's haunting family tale, Katherine Carlyle, a contemporary masterpiece. * Robert McCrum, the Guardian - Best books of 2015 * Rupert Thomson's story of identity and self-discovery, aglitter with startling imagery, is a compelling look at the complexities of family relationships * Sunday Express * This novel should give [Thomson] the recognition he much deserves. * The Times * Beneath the drifting surface of Katherine's journey, through concrete Berlin underpasses and bleak northern hotel rooms, there emerges a tight and compelling narrative. It is a striking literary performance, memorably combining dream and thriller. * The Sunday Times * Thomson's gift for description is impressive, and this is an effective study of madness infused with travelogue. * The Mail on Sunday, the best new fiction * Thomson has created a novel that resists easy categories, but remains with the reader long after the last page, asking profound questions about the way we choose to live and connect with others. * The Observer * In Katherine Carlyle Thomson creates a remarkably true-feeling modern teenage girl, an accomplishment in itself, then goes one step further in having her strike an incongrously detached, mature tone ... This isn't precociousness but the product of a bifurcated age, a twenty-seven-year-old soul narrating a nineteen-year-old's actions. Thomson captures the magnetism between strangers, the erosion of mores and the amplification of chance that one finds when travelling alone. * Times Literary Supplement * Brilliant * Independent * Shocking, emotionally draining and satisfying all at once ... Thomson's delivery is swift on the page: fluid, visual, deft as a thriller writer's ... At the same time, something about the way Thomson paces the action, his phrasing and timing, his management of scale and grain ... lets you know that in Katherine Carlyle you're getting something more than a thriller. * M John Harrison, the Guardian * Thomson is a hypnotic writer. His prose is precise and controlled, his images intriguingly dreamlike. Katherine Carlyle leaves a sharp, visceral afterimage in its wake; much of its staying power lies in Thomson's ability to send the reader's imagination beyond its final page. * Elle magazine * Unfolding in the acclaimed Thomson's characteristically lucid and sensuous prose, this entirely unsentimental novel is as absorbing as it is affecting. * Daily Mail * Thomson's story is a profound look at love, loss and the need to belong. * Psychologies * Rupert Thomson is so undervalued, such a pure novelist. He explores what interests him in the way that I most admire. Not trying to demonstrate its relevancy or extend his own argument; Instead, each novel is etched into reality by his curiosity. * Jonathan Lethem, Hopes & Fears.com * Rupert Thomson's writing serves as an augmentor of your own imagination. As with Secrecy, Katherine Carlyle immediately transports you into an ever-expanding, yet intimate cinematic experience. I absolutely loved it. * KT Tunstall * Written with the verve, pace and detail of a spy novel, sleek and oddly honest, this is the fascinating story of Katherine Carlyle who mysteriously decides that instead of university and a privileged life she will erase her identity and much of her emotions and go untraceably to the most remote settlement of the Russian north. She is not seeking love. She is determined to have abandoned it. * James Salter * Thomson's ability to create a world that feels entirely original and untouched by any other mind is at full strength in this strange and haunting book ... It's the strongest and most original novel I've read for a very long time ... It's a masterpiece * Philip Pullman * This riveting and visionary story haunted me long after I finished the last page. Katherine Carlyle is an extraordinary novel * Deborah Moggach * Smart, stylish, inventive, and always entertaining, Rupert Thomson displays enormous range as a novelist. His prose is consistently sharp, his ideas consistently intriguing. I would read any book that Rupert Thomson wrote. * Lionel Shriver * Rupert Thomson is one of the most interesting, adventurous writers working in fiction today. * Anne Enright * Rupert Thomson's twilight worlds have long enchanted many readers, and this road trip through a snow dome of mesemeric hallucinations is Thomson at his best. * Richard Flanagan *
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About Rupert Thomson

Rupert Thomson is the author of nine highly acclaimed novels, including The Insult, which was shortlisted for the Guardian Fiction Prize, and chosen by David Bowie as one of his 100 Must-Read Books of all Time, The Book of Revelation, which was made into a feature film by the Australian writer/director, Ana Kokkinos, and Death of a Murderer, which was shortlisted for the Costa Prize. In 2010, he published a memoir, This Party Got to Stop, which won the Writers' Guild Non-Fiction Book of the Year. Rupert Thomson has contributed to the Financial Times, the Independent, and the Guardian. He lives in London.
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Rating details

459 ratings
3.49 out of 5 stars
5 19% (86)
4 34% (155)
3 30% (139)
2 13% (59)
1 4% (20)
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