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The Auctioneer Paperback – 6 Apr 2000


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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Fourth Estate; New edition edition (6 April 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1857029836
  • ISBN-13: 978-1857029833
  • Product Dimensions: 19.8 x 12.8 x 2.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 665,770 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Amazon Review

Finn Causley is the auctioneer. The owner of an auction house in a Victorian silk mill, Finn tells his story through the objects others have left behind: a Staffordshire figure in a bonnet, slightly chipped; a faded friendship band; a white pill bottle with an easy-grip screw cap. The lots trigger a flood of mis-remembered conversations, childhood ghosts and memories: memories of Margaret, his mother, who died in a car crash with someone else's watch in her pocket and a whiff of adultery in the air; of Hen, his wife, who suffers from St. Mary's Disease, a form of dementia that erases her memory whilst giving her a masked smile. and then there's Anna, who stole his heart when she appeared in a Kandinsky dress by a pool at midnight.The Auctioneer is about the sort of history "made by cheap useful objects; what's dusty on your sideboard, what's sticky at the back of your drawer."; An intricate, well-paced history that is as much about the things that happen off-camera as on. Told in several voices, this first novel circles around Finn's grief and confusion as he becomes increasingly obsessed with his past. Complex, multi-layered and assured, The Auctioneer explores the relationships between love, deceit and the junk that clutters our lives.--Jane Honey --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"Rich in beguiling detail, incidents and characters...The Auctioneer is an unusually ambitious debut." -- Times Literary Supplement

"This big, anxious book surely marks the debut of a considerable talent." -- Daily Telegraph

"This is an extremely impressive first novel...a new writer so ambitious and thoughtful that you can't help but look forward to what will come next." -- Observer

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 17 Jan. 2000
Format: Paperback
A brilliant book - you find yourself thinking about certain scenes months after you've finished it. You miss the characters and want to know what they are doing now .... I especially loved Hen.
Finn, the Auctioneer, observes: "Hen's yellow hair. My palette has no other name for it than yellow; my inside information says it isn't bleached, or poured out from a bottle marked Butterscotch or Strawberry Blonde. The only artificial treatment is the lemon juice she rubs in at the sink in the morning, when she still looks too young to be a mother".
And when Finn first met her: "I can't say that's what sealed it. But I know that if a certain part of me, something I had always trusted with my most important decisions, had curled up and gone to sleep instead of standing on tiptoe for a better view, our relationship would have ended with her driving me back to my two-roomed flat and wishing me luck in finding a life."
So many threads within the story - is this what travelling in Australia is really like ? what had actually happened to piano playing Margaret? possessions of the dead falling under the auctioneer's hammer, twentysomethings living under the roof of a Victorian mill, plastic brains, drugs, the Green Knight, handcuffs. It was marvellous, when I read it the second time, to discover bits that I hadn't noticed first time round because I had been in such a hurry to know how it was going to work out. Would Finn meet up with Anna ? would it be worth the wait ? were they all going to succumb to "Bliss" ? Surely Hen wasn't going to die ?
It's a very clever book and the writing is sublime - it's definitely up there with "The Beach", "Quarantine" and "The Leopard".
Absolute entelechy - hurry up and write another one, Charles Fernyhough.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 18 Nov. 1999
Format: Paperback
The most rewarding book I've read in 10 years.
Prepare yourself, my review contains extreme purple praise, but this novel has just about everything, and fully deserves the applause it has received from the professional critics.
Fernyhough's rich evocative language is a revelation and takes you on a truly pulse-quickening journey to heaven and hell and back, through the memories of "The Auctioneer" Finn Causley, which keep you reaching for the truth of his past until the very end. (Read the other reviews if you want a fuller idea of the story).
You can almost taste this guy's vivid salty prose. His characters live in a world of heightened senses, and you like them will absorb his almost tangible descriptions of the everyday world like a sponge, to forever look at things in a different way. (I turned over the corner of about 20 pages so I could flick back to re-read some of his real gems!)
You can learn, what it means to hate, to love, to forget, to remember, to cry, to laugh, to die and to be born again. You can become engorged by the erotic power of Finn's forbidden dreams, laugh out loud at the author's often hysterical sense of the absurd, or simply hold your breath as you wait for Finn to deliver Fernyhough's quite breathtaking finale.
With every chapter, every sentence, every word (even punctuation), Fernyhough makes deliberate and individual decisions which make him a joy to read; his words dance like musical poetry off each page.
This is surely the emergence of a rare voice with a bright future who will charm everyone who buys and reads him.
My only problem with Charles Fernyhough's writing is that I believe his next book won't be out till next year. Watch this space however as my spies tell me it's going to be extraordinary !
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 10 April 2000
Format: Paperback
Completely absorbing, thoroughly rewarding book of great individuality.
Prepare yourself, my review contains extreme purple praise, but this novel has everything I look for in a great book, and fully deserves the applause it has received from the professional critics.
Fernyhough's rich evocative language is a revelation as he takes you on a truly pulse-quickening journey, through the memories of "The Auctioneer" Finn Causley, which keep you reaching for the truth of his past until the very last page.
With every word Fernyhough makes deliberate and individual decisions which make him a joy to read (even his punctuation is creative). His descriptions of everyday experiences often show breathtaking originality and insight. (I turned over the corner of about 20 pages so I could flick back to re-read some of his real gems!)
This novel has great range! You will become engorged by the erotic power of Finn's forbidden dreams, laugh out loud at the author's often hysterical sense of the absurd, and hold your breath as Fernyhough delivers a finale of infinite suspense.
Fernyhough's "The Auctioneer" is surely the emergence of a rare provocative voice who will charm and stimulate everyone who reads him.
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