Wednesday, 8 April 2009


The Conclave is that rare thing, a contemporary historical novel. With immense psychological and stylistic delicacy, Bracewell traced the interior contours of the Thatcher boom of the 1980s. 

Thus spake The Guardian in their feature on 'How did we miss these' in September 2007.  Who are we to disagree with this fine judgement.  The Capuchin Classics edition will be released around 20th April this year, and we are greatly excited to be reintroducing this wonderful novel to the reading world.

As well as enjoying Michael Bracewell's wonderful prose and evocation of place and character, the book is particularly interesting for me as the chief protagonist and I were born a year apart, and certain passages describing the youthful years of the former resonate very strongly - and sometimes in an unsettling manner - with my own experiences, especially where the intensities of youthful friendship and romance are concerned.

Being concerned with the 1980's boom and bust cycle, the novel has obvious relevance to the troubled economic waters through which we're navigating, and offers a fascinating perspective on the origins of the aspirational lifestyles and values which are now in various degrees of retreat.  As the author says, 'The book does not judge these people, or satirise them; it simply hopes to describe their young adult lives.'

Enjoy the book.


1 comment:

Mad Housewife said...

After reading Philip Hensher's The Northern Clemency, The Conclave sounds like the next great '80s book. Contemporary historical novels are fascinating. The Thatcher years and the Reagan years have been chronicled by some great novelists, and I'm not familair with this one.