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Blood Kin

Blood Kin by Ceridwen Dovey
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Shortlisted for the Dylan Thomas Prize
A chef, a portraitist and a barber are taken hostage in a coup to overthrow their boss, the president of a nameless country. They are held captive in a palatial retreat in the mountains high above the capital city. Meanwhile, the chef's daughter, the portraitist's pregnant wife and the barber's lover watch their men from the shadows for in such precarious times, intimate relationships are as dangerous as political ones. As the old order falls, so does the veil that hides the truth about the secret passions of these men and women.
Drawing her readers masterfully towards the novel's devastating climax, Ceridwen Dovey reveals how humanity's most atavistic impulses vanity, vengeance and greed seethe, relentlessly, just beneath the surface of everyday life.
'In this elegantly structured debut novel . . . in lively, straightforward prose, Dovey gets to the heart of the complicit nature of the master-servant relationship, in which 'power and desire couple effortlessly.'The New Yorker
'The prose is sensuous and restrained, the gaze piercing and relentless. Dovey exposes not only the arrogance of power, but also the human heart's dark adoration of the powerful. Hisham Matar,The Observer
'A fable of the arrogance of power, beneath whose dreamlike surface swirl currents of complex sensuality.'J.M. Coetzee
'A precise and terrifying debut novel ... Dovey's ultimate lesson, that nature and mankind abhor a power vacuum, may be a bleak one, but she presents her case so meticulously and relentlessly that you've got to respect her authority.New York Times
'A lovely, haunting novel, written with great care and precision. Working on the level of allegory, with a careful consideration of history and myth, Ceridwen Dovey has fashioned a really fine debut.Colum McCann, author ofLet the Great World Spin
'Taut and remarkably self-assured . . . there's a knowing sensuality to the novel's sparsely lyric passages . . . Impressive.'Los Angeles Times
'A terrific debut novel . . . a meticulously constructed story about political corruption and its impact on people's lives . . . artfully bleak and ingenious.'Sydney Morning Herald
'In this stripped-down Kafkaesque fable . . . Dovey infuses each character with humanity, and brilliantly reveals how banal acts like cooking and shaving can become charged with longing and political intent.'Vogue(US)
'Dovey's surgical prose and cool apprehension of the machinations of ambition and lust make her a writer to watch.'O, The Oprah Magazine
'Slim [and] sharp, Dovey's novel is refreshingly spiky and precise, its insights startling and original.'Entertainment Weekly
'Dovey's mesmerizing novel lifts the lid on a dictatorship and its perilous aftermath . . . There is a hypnotic, languorous feel to the writing even as the conclusion circles with the impatience of vultures over carrion.'Catherine Taylor,The Guardian(UK)
'The trauma of physical violence is kept off stage whilst Dovey strategically deploys snapshots of family heritage. The effect is tense and dramatic, as though the claustrophobic pressures of a country house murder mystery, in which all are implicated by motive or connection, had been transplanted on to the political instability of Garcia Marquez's revolutionary landscapes. Dovey draws strong, vivid characters and her keen eye for signposting detail . . . gives a sensual counterpoint to the ruthless logic of her subtly heralded denouement.'The Independent
'An excellently sculpted indictment of avarice, lust and human misery.'Glasgow Herald
'Superb . . . An Orwellian fable that is as masterful as it is entertaining.'Sunday Business Post(UK)

Penguin Books Ltd; September 2015
192 pages; ISBN 9781743770085
Read online, or download in secure EPUB
Title: Blood Kin
Author: Ceridwen Dovey
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