Now We Shall Be Entirely Free: The Waterstones Scottish Book of the Year 2019

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Now We Shall Be Entirely Free: The Waterstones Scottish Book of the Year 2019

Now We Shall Be Entirely Free: The Waterstones Scottish Book of the Year 2019

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It says something , not quite sure what though, when the charachter chasing the hero is more fascinating than the actual hero. Now We Shall Be Entirely Free is a historical novel, but it is also many other things - a war novel, a romance, an adventure story, a cat and mouse chase, a story of friendship. Over the years, a number of people, me included, have compared the British author Andrew Miller to Hilary Mantel.

I literally just finished the book and yet I would still struggle to tell you anything significant that happens in it - for some reason the majority of the story revolves around a woman’s decision to have eye surgery? I bought this new from Waterstones, and if my memory serves me well, the man that served me even recommended it as a 'Must read'. He harbors a terrible secret that occurred in the war under his watch, and there are people out there, one from Spain and one from England who seek to kill him for different reasons regarding the episode contained in this secret.The device of a journey allows the author to explore a changing world – the brutalities of early industrialism, despoiled agriculture and millenarian sects. Miller is interested, as a novelist, in the way in which physical defects and traits affect personalities. The dramatic quality could have been retained (or even enhanced) by a bit of variety: the novel might have gone somewhere else, either back to the war or to some other plotline, to give a more organic feel to something that begins to seem prescriptively tailored. Perhaps his excellent eighth book, a cat-and-mouse thriller set at the height of the Napoleonic wars, will change that, though the fact it’s not made this year’s Man Booker longlist is already something of a travesty. I have never studied the Napoleonic wars, and especially the Spanish campaign and the peninsular wars.

Having spent many happy holidays on Hebridean islands, I was frustrated for a while by not knowing on which island Lacroix lands because I wanted to be able to picture it and not have it as a generic Scottish island. Much of the book alternates, in thriller-like fashion, between these hunters and their fugitive, who a couple of times unknowingly come within inches of one another.

These are disturbing questions, yet the novel is no worthy, schematic churn through a series of ethical options, but a pacy thriller. In the course of his journey, Lacroix experiences both the best and worst of humanity, experiencing violence but also the kindness of strangers. The haven he finds on a remote island with a family of free-thinkers and the sister he falls for are not safe, at all. I didn’t like the writing style and at page 219 I still hadn’t connected with any the characters, I just didn’t care about anything or anyone.

  • Fruugo ID: 258392218-563234582
  • EAN: 764486781913
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