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Hawthorn & Child: with exclusive story The Spectacular: An Olympic Event [Kindle Edition]

Keith Ridgway
2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £8.99
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Book Description

Hawthorn and Child are mid-ranking detectives tasked with finding significance in the scattered facts. They appear and disappear in the fragments of this book along with a ghost car, a crime boss, a pick-pocket, a dead racing driver and a pack of wolves. The mysteries are everywhere, but the biggest of all is our mysterious compulsion to solve them. In Hawthorn & Child, the only certainty is that we've all misunderstood everything.

Also featuring an exclusive story, The Spectacular: An Olympic Event:

From the same fictional world as his forthcoming novel Hawthorn & Child, Keith Ridgway gives us a self-contained story about the danger of stories. A novelist that no one reads, Clive Drayton has decided to set aside literary fiction and write a bestseller. Easy, right? But there are choices to be made. What sort of story should it be? A thriller, of course. About a convoluted and compelling terrorist plot, and the copper who must stop it. And the target? Well, it's London, it's 2012 - what do you think the target is? What could possibly go wrong? Ridgway gives us a comic and cautionary tale about a man who tries to make it all up, and about the risk of being believed.

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Product Description


'An idiosyncratic and fascinating novel... refreshingly contemporary in language and style' -Zadie Smith

'The novel that has impressed, mesmerised and bamboozled me most this past year is Hawthorn and Child by Keith Ridgway. It begins as a police procedural, then spins outwards, never quite coming back to explain the mystery. A novel or a series of loosely connected short stories? I don't really care. Whatever it is, it's great.' -Ian Rankin, Guardian

'Ridgway's best compositions can be breathtakingly unpredictable ... At his best, Ridgway is unapologetically strange. And the writing is perfectly assured and elegant' --Scarlett Thomas, Guardian

'Ridgway writes with the keen sense of place and lucid, pared-down prose of a good crime novel, which makes the more outlandish deviations even more arresting'-Observer

'Not only in its dialogue, but in its bawdy subversiveness, Hawthorn and Child is a thoroughly Irish affair. Samuel Beckett and Flann O Brien come regularly to mind, although Keith Ridgway's blend of the grotesque and the absurd is all his own... An admirably conceived work of fiction' -Times Literary Supplement

'This unorthodox, word-of-mouth success follows a detective duo whose cases refuse to reach any neat resolution, instead heading off on dark, unpredictable tangents, the interlocking stories are too clever to be resisted.'-Sunday Express

'It sometimes seems as if the modernist tradition in Irish fiction has run its course. But Ridgway looks more and more a worthy inheritor of its best quality, the impulse to be fresh, startling and challenging without being wilful or arbitrary. Hawthorn and Child, with two policemen traversing London and trying to make sense of its crimes, is strange, disconcerting, often dark. It s also superbly written and compulsively readable.' --Irish Times

'His characters are so compelling and the situations in which he thrusts them so gripping ... it's worth reading Hawthorn and Child for the thrills alone ... And the black humour throughout is glorious' --Independent

About the Author

Keith Ridgway is a Dubliner and the author of the novels The Long Falling, The Parts and Animals, as well as the collection of stories Standard Time and the novella Horses. His books have won awards and acclaim in Ireland and internationally and are translated widely. He lived in North London for eleven years. He now lives somewhere else.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 367 KB
  • Print Length: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Granta Books (5 July 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0089EN286
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #327,091 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "There's an infinite number of explanations..." 25 Aug. 2012
By Joanne Sheppard TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I started reading Keith Ridgway's Hawthorn and Child on the recommendation of John Self, who was at the time embarking on an experiment to see how effectively a book could be drawn to people's attention through social media. John's enthusiastic championing of the book meant my expectations were high; equally, he'd been very clear about the type of book Hawthorn and Child is, so I knew roughly what to expect: an unconventional narrative structure, a lack, by most definitions, of discernible plot, and a book full of hints, allusions and clues that will have you endlessly pondering their significance. On the other hand, they might not be significant at all. In one chapter, a character eavesdropping on a conversation, remarks: "This banal banter seems so completely unconnected to anything I know about that I wonder if it's coded. Why would it be coded, you idiot? They've just just drifted off into life," a remark which rather mirrors my experience of reading the book at times.

If Hawthorn and Child reminds me of anything, it's Nicola Barker's Darkmans. Darkmans has more plot (to be frank, most books do) but, like Hawthorn and Child, it was a book I kept wanting to re-read so I could piece together more of the oblique references, the throwaway remarks and word choices that you suddenly realise might be meaningful - in Hawthorn and Child, there is a recurrent theme of confusion over words, of mishearing, of not being able to find quite the right terms. Hawthorn and Child also shares a similarly mundane setting, in which odd things happen. In the opening chapter, for instance, there is the odd suggestion that a man may possibly have been shot by a ghost car.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stylistically brilliant 21 Jan. 2014
Reviews of this book seem to be pretty divided. Several parts of it were originally published as short stories and that does kind of come through. The book is a loosely connected set of stories which have some shared characters and events. Although it does have detectives, crimes and criminals it is not a standard crime or detective thriller in any way.

While it does not have a conventional plot, Hawthorn and Child does have some of the best writing I have read in years. It is challenging and obtuse in places but it is beautifully written throughout and left a lasting impression. I am keen to read some more of Keith Ridgway's work.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Spare and beautiful 21 Sept. 2012
By A Ryder
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Generally I agree with the other reviewers, who at the time of writing have all blessed the book with 5 stars. What I wasn't sure of when I flipped over the last page was whether this amounted, ultimately, to more than the sum of its parts. It's not a novel in the traditional sense, more a sequence of short stories that bear a tangential relation to each other. Each section offers plenty in the way of character, and stylish writing, and could - as some already have - stand alone as short fiction. But....

Then again, maybe I have just lived a very sheltered life! I found myself struggling to imagine Hawthorn's gay rugby-style orgies, or get any sense of the oddly-named Mishazzo, whom they are ostensibly chasing, and the fantasy narrative of the wolves didn't work for me and seemed an odd inclusion.

Overall though I enjoyed reading it. In a world where the bestsellers are by and large unchallenging, this is original and intelligent, and also subtly funny. I would happily read other work by Ridgway, and bought 'The Spectacular', on the strength of this. 'Spectacular' is a related short story, and could easily have been another section in the novel, which seems to illustrate the strengths and weaknesses of the unusual structure.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Happily unresovable 15 Sept. 2013
After the classic detective novel set up, this rich, fresh and occasionally hilarious novel twists off into half-stories, loose ends and possible dreams.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Thoroughly bemused 3 Mar. 2014
Bits of this were excellent, a lot of it was gross and not much of it related to the almost non existent plot; especially towards the end. It has expanded my literary horizons and I think I enjoyed it! A book for contemplation and consideration, and definately not easy escapism.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dream-quest for a mirage 19 July 2014
I think it possibly helped that I read this book whilst seriously sleep-deprived. Several of the characters are in a similar state and the book has a disjointed, dreamlike quality, with echoes and allusions of plotlines or characters recurring unpredictably as you progress. It might help readers to have a better recall of earlier chapters, then again, it might not. Other than a rather sweet, first-person coming-of-age chapter dropped incongruously into its midst, this is for the most part rather a disturbing read, but I found it oddly compelling.
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34 of 42 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Hawthorn & Child was originally subtitled, on its publisher's website, `A Set of Misunderstandings'. The misunderstandings might begin in trying to define it. It's a series of stories which is really a novel, about two London police detectives and the people they encounter. It begins with an unsolvable mystery, when a young man is shot from a passing car on a quiet north London street. The brief information provided by the victim as he lies on the hospital table ("They poked and peered at the body. They tubed the body and they hooked it up. They shifted and bound the body") becomes the bedrock of a police investigation, a grand structure spun around no more than air. This is a book which is all about the details: the ones we don't know, the ones we invent to replace them, and the exquisite ones Ridgway provides us with along the way. Details, like this brief phone exchange between Hawthorn and his brother, which speaks of years in a couple of lines:

--How's the thing?

--What thing?

--The crying.

Hawthorn made a face and looked out of the window.

--It's fine.

The imprecision of language is everywhere. Here, Hawthorn's brother wants to ask but can't bring himself to be specific. Elsewhere, when investigating the shooting, Hawthorn and Child take a witness's response to a question ("Not really") as an opening, when really it's just a loose end. They are desperate to make things fit. "We usually don't decide anything about things that don't fit. They just don't fit. So we leave them out." In this, they are like all of us, even when we are reading this book and trying to join together the pieces of the narrative. (Ridgway: "We want to tell ourselves and our days and our lives as stories, and these things are not stories.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Not for those with an average IQ.
I came to this book following a recommendation in another authors blog and as such did not read any of the reviews posted on Amazon. Big mistake. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Elvira
2.0 out of 5 stars Confusing and non-linear.
I thought this book would be a challenge, but I also assumed it would have answers to be found. It doesn't.
This is a collection of tales, not even all of them are connected. Read more
Published 19 months ago by Carl Clegg
1.0 out of 5 stars Well that's 8 hours of my life i'll never get back!
Well thank you Mr Keith Ridgway, at least I know of one author to avoid in future.

I saw this book in the UK's best high street bookshop, with a review from one of the... Read more
Published 20 months ago by PEEL
2.0 out of 5 stars I Don't Like It But I'm Not Going To Insist You Don't
I've read very diverse reviews for this book, one of the very few I've given up on part way through. I gave up before I read them. Read more
Published 24 months ago by Mr. G. Foxton
1.0 out of 5 stars Rating this book depends ENTIRELY on what your after
Only buy this book if you read so many books each year you are after something completely different and will appreciate the strange lack of plot and ultimate pointlessness of the... Read more
Published on 28 Sept. 2013 by Reader
1.0 out of 5 stars No idea what it was all about
I kept reading this in the hope all would become clear, but it never did. Since hardly anyone is named it was completely confusing as to who was the character involved at any one... Read more
Published on 15 Sept. 2013 by suzanne edbrooke
1.0 out of 5 stars Clunky, poorly written. Don't bother borrowing from a library,...
Hard work to read, weak story line, poor character development.... wasted a couple of hours on this and won't be reading any more of his 'books'.
Published on 3 Aug. 2013 by DorsetJ
2.0 out of 5 stars A very promising start..,
..with a genuinely compelling first chapter. After that, however...just a dreadful let down. As this was a book that I had been looking forward to reading, the disappointment was... Read more
Published on 22 July 2013 by Hoopler
3.0 out of 5 stars Hard to Like, Harder to Dismiss
An experimental patchwork that is both compelling and irritating, self-conscious and sublime. A book to admire for its technique, rather than one that invites the reader to enter... Read more
Published on 4 July 2013 by Rutherbooks
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