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Reviews

  • It's not until you read a novel by Patrick McGrath that you remember how boring most books are. Even stories that keep readers turning the pages for the plot can be flatly told, and many first-person narrators have no individuality. Not so with McGrath, whose novels make a distinctive voice an essential part of the telling, and remind us that the bias of the teller is an integral element in any tale. Last Days in Cleaver Square is a passionate, tempest-tossed memoir by Francis McNulty - made up of equal parts what he's telling us and what he isn't . . . The narrative voice might be his ripest yet . . . The pleasure in a Patrick McGrath novel is the travelling, not the arrival, and this is a rare novel that has pleasure on every page.

    The Times
  • McGrath expertly deploys some of his trademark elements . . . and is unfailingly deft in his handling of trauma and deceit. Tiny elements fleetingly present in the story return later on like a whole arsenal of Chekhov's guns to be duly discharged, or occasionally decommissioned. By its conclusion Last Days in Cleaver Square manages to pull off the impressive trick of being narratively coherent and satisfying, yet still true to the messy businesses of memory, ageing, guilt and how to tell the story of a life.

    Guardian
  • An atmospheric novel, with a magnificently unreliable narrator, combining family comedy with harrowing themes of death and betrayal ... In the often-mannered first person prose, which is replete with panicky ejaculations, this book enjoys playing with the conventions of the ghost story, of tales of sensation and the supernatural ... McGrath is a connoisseur of this literary tradition.

    Financial Times

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