'Beard is as good on the sensuality of smoking as on the philosophy. This is an unusually intelligent, funny and readable first book' Sunday Times
She offered me the cigarette like an apple. It was love and desire. It was knowledge and everything.
'Gregory Simpson is, after years of being paid to smoke a packet a day for research purposes, trying to give up. He decides to write to keep his hands busy and the resulting journal - combining memories of seduction, little-known facts about the tobacco industry and the comfortable camaraderie of the suicide club - is an elegant, witty and confident disquisition on smoking as desire and as a metaphor for desire' Observer
'Populated by a cast of well-drawn eccentrics-loaded with encyclopaedic detail on the history and iconography of smoking, this comic novel nevertheless aims at deep seriousness-Beard's writing can be breathtaking' Daily Telegraph
'Richard Beard's prose is dry, nonchalant and fluent-An accomplished first novel' Times Literary Supplement