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Nothing To Be Afraid Of [Paperback]

Will Eaves
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
RRP: 8.99
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Book Description

5 May 2006

An earthquake strikes at the heart of London, its epicenter a theatre where a lavish production of The Tempest has just opened. Thus the scene is set for Will Eaves’s gloriously deft tragicomedy of our time. Nothing To Be Afraid Of is both a lament for hope abandoned and innocence betrayed, and an exquisite comic pageant of Shakespearian vitality and compassion: an incidental theatrical history, across the twentieth century, of the art of pretence; of patience, trust and loyalty; of folly in youth and unforgivable old age.

‘Tender, playful and full of beautifully observed descriptions of growing up and growing old . . . with some terrific comic set-pieces the equal of anything in Waugh and Wodehouse. Now that’s good writing’ Daily Telegraph

‘In the case of his novel, Eaves has nothing to be afraid of. This deft, absorbing book more than confirms the promise of The Oversight. Eaves is a master of the dark arts of city fiction. He is to be read, relished and watched very closely’ Independent

Nothing To Be Afraid Of provides several coups de théâtre . . . [it] is a tragicomic tale of secrets, a drowned daughter, infidelity and mistaken identity . . . It is so clever, so apt, so right that you have no option but to read the novel with its built-in encore all over again. It seems even better the second time round’ Sunday Telegraph

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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Picador; New Ed edition (5 May 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0330418750
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330418751
  • Product Dimensions: 19.2 x 13 x 2.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 986,413 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


'A highly entertaining mix of grand guignol and romance, this novel deserves a West End transfer’ -- Guardian

'Eaves’s knowledge, wit and skill are impressed upon the reader with relentless bravura' -- Guardian

'Throughout, a sense of the sheer seductiveness of theatre is conveyed -- The Times

‘A Tempest-like atmosphere of magical possibilities and unlikely coincidence imbues this delightful tragicomedy of manners' -- Sunday Telegraph

‘A state of full mental alertness is necessary when reading Will Eaves’s clever, waspish novel of intergenerational luvviedom… -- Guardian

‘An astounding and intricate novel’ -- Daily Telegraph

Book Description

On a warm summer's evening in 1999, an earthquake strikes the heart of London. The epicentre of the tremor is a theatre, where a lavish production of The Tempest has just opened. In the cast are friends and enemies, among them a preening star, a drunken failure, and Martha, a young actress. In the audience sits her clever sister, Alice. As the shockwaves subside, the veil between the real and the imaginary is lifted, and magical forces of envy, ambition, madness and romance invade the world: Alice and Martha vie for love and precedence on stage; a mesmerist indulges his worthless son; and Leslie Barrington, a washed-up Caliban, dreams of literary revenge. Behind the scenes, a family tragedy awaits discovery. The players are, one by one, unmasked. Nothing To Be Afraid Of is a tragedy of hope abandoned and innocence betrayed, but it is also an extravagant comic pageant of Shakespearean energy and compassion: an incidental theatrical history, across the twentieth century, of the art of pretence; of patience, trust and loyalty; of folly in youth and old age. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a wonderful book 19 Feb 2007
I bought this book randomly in a bookshop and I am so very glad I did. It is really hard to summarise the plot, but it emcompasses The Tempest, earthquakes, hypnotism, London, acting, jealousy, love and Dorothy Squires. Eaves pulls off the hard task of many interleaved story lines, and time scales, with an unusual twist. It is often also exceedlingly funny. I have been forcing it onto family and friends, and everyone has enjoyed it (well, the two who have read it so far). Now I need to get my copy back so I can read it again.
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8 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book. Read it. 14 Sep 2005
This is Will Eaves second novel. And very good it is too. It satisfies on many levels. The writing is crisp and lively. He has a great eye for telling detail as well as a flair for narrative complexity.
Hard to condense what it's about. My reading of it was that it was a study in the deceptions which people create about themselves and their place in the world - sometimes consciously, sometimes unconsciously.
Set in a brilliantly described theatrical millieu, Eaves can be screamingly funny about the vanities and vagaries of luvviedom. He can also be poignant and touching about human frailty. And he has a forensic eye for relationships and why they succeed or fail.
He certainly knows how to write a good story. This one is multi-faceted and keeps you guessing until the very end.
If I have a criticism it is that in weaving together a number of narratives he has set himself a real challenge in pulling them all together in a completely satisfying way.
That said, the authors affection for late Shakespearean plays (and those who try to bring them to life on stage) is abundant and the writing is at once economic, elegant and lively. Above all it is very satisfying to read. Can't wait for the next one.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Delicious twist in the tale 15 Sep 2009
By Eileen Shaw TOP 1000 REVIEWER
I have to say that I might not have given this book the read it deserves. I found it incredibly dense with metaphor and simile - and its style is elliptical, almost too casual for the freight carried by the words. I feel this book deserved a slower, more attentive read, but much of it, for me, in my usual reading style (fast) seemed to promise much then pass me by. My feeling of regret is also tinged with impatience because clarity is what I expect, but it has to be said that Will Eaves is a writer with a lot to say and that he, himself, I think, rather than me, is to blame for any inattention, as he throws it all down with rather too much negligence.

This book concerns a series of theatrical people, or TV actors, or agents, plus the people they live with, grew up with, interact with. A large cast of characters is given not much room to manoeuvre. Two of them stand out: Alice, a plump, highly intelligent actor, with a problem sister, also an actor; and Leslie, a bit of a soak who inadvertently gives Alice her first acting success. As with his first book, Eaves enlivens his characters with authentic humanity, but there might be slightly too many of them in this book to make the magic work.

His wit is sharp and clever, his depth of writing means that he is never merely funny. Tragedy underpins humour just as it does in real life; that is fatally, or sometimes peripherally, but always cuttingly. The book is ambitious and has a delicious twist in the tale. I am immensely admiring of Eaves' writing, but I think, to do him justice, I will have to read this book again some time: but slowly.
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