Dr James Darke has expelled himself from the world. He writes compulsively in his 'coming of old age' journal; he eats little, drinks and smokes a lot. Meditating on what he has lost - the loves of his life, both dead and alive - he tries to console himself with the wisdom of the great thinkers and poets, yet finds nothing but disappointment. But cracks of light appear in his carefully managed darkness; he begins to emerge from his self-imposed exile, drawn by the tender, bruised filaments of love for his daughter and grandson. Rich in ideas and feeling, Rick Gekoski's debut novel is provocative and timely. With scalding prose, ruthless intelligence and an unforgettably vivid protagonist, it faces some of the greatest, most uncomfortable questions about how we choose to live, and how to die.
I was beguiled and charmed by the vivid personality being revealed. By that, and by the fact that I couldn't stop reading. Gekoski puts words together with a sure touch and deep craftsmanship -- PHILIP PULLMAN A wondrous book with two fathers, Kingsley Amis and Dante -- SEBASTIAN BARRY Staggeringly accomplished. Heartbreakingly true. A shockingly monumental first novel -- JOHN NIVEN A very good storyteller * Sunday Telegraph * Essential reading for any booklover, but it is also a supreme example of a natural and skilled storyteller at work * Colm Toibin on TOLKIEN'S GOWN AND OTHER STORIES OF FAMOUS AUTHORS AND RARE BOOKS * Page after page of delight * Sunday Times on TOLKIEN'S GOWN AND OTHER STORIES OF FAMOUS AUTHORS AND RARE BOOKS * Gekoski's love of books is infectious * Seattle Times on OUTSIDE OF A DOG * Gekoski is endearing to read for his childlike enthusiasm for ... well, for everything. There is nothing cynical or clever here, just real intelligence and true feeling - and the sense of humour * Jeanette Winterson on OUTSIDE OF A DOG *
Rick Gekoski is a writer, rare-book dealer and academic. He has written several widely praised non-fiction books including Staying Up, Tolkien's Gown, Outside of a Dog and Lost, Stolen or Shredded. This is his first novel. In 2005 he was one of the judges for the Man Booker Prize, and was then Chair of the judges for the Man Booker International Prize 2011. He teaches creative non-fiction for the Arvon Foundation, and sits on their Development Board. In 2010 he was elected a Trustee of English PEN.