- Paperback: 320 pages
- Publisher: W&N; Reprint edition (9 Feb. 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1780222262
- ISBN-13: 978-1780222264
- Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 2.5 x 19.7 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 160,556 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Death of an Owl Paperback – 9 Feb 2017
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best suited to a fireside on a winter's night, but it's no less satisfying for that (DAILY MAIL)
A delightful Gothic fantasy... Witty and well-crafted - completed with panache (THE GUARDIAN)
Compelling blend of morality and satire (SUNDAY MIRROR)
Skeweringly accurate... The Death of an Owl will ring true with anyone who has ever hate politicians or fallen out of love (EVENING STANDARD)
The Death of an Owl makes the journey from well-crafted and urbane political novel to spooky melodrama with elegance. A pleasure to read (DAILY EXPRESS)
Piers has taken up the story so perfectly that you can't see the join. (THE TIMES)
From the bestselling author of Salmon Fishing in the Yemen comes a biting satire about political expediency, spin and unholy alliances. Completed by Piers Torday.See all Product description
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Top Customer Reviews
It makes you feel that you may have missed out on the ancient Greek tragedy (or comedy) where Oedipus, instead of murdering his father and marrying his mother, kills an owl, only to be pursued by a chorus of Furies – masked beaked figures descending ex machina to the wooded stage.
It is a good read – even if the two main characters are so stiff upper-lipped that you warm only gradually to the subdued, repressed and truth-telling hero who is strangely undeluded in the delusional world of political leaders.
There is some dodgy birdwatching - the barn owl that dies would have screeched. Only tawny owls hoot – but they are the ones that seem to haunt the humans. And for good measure, the proof cover design looks more like an eagle owl. But that doesn’t interfere too much with the plot!
One night as he drives down a country road, accompanied by his wife, en route to his political advisor's home, he accidentally hits and kills a barn owl - a protected species.
Upon being told of the incident after Langfords's arrival, his political advisor, and fellow Oxford graduate, Charles Fryerne, is aghast. A man of principle, does he keep schtum about it? If word gets out it would surely harm his colleague's chances of becoming PM...
Paul Torday is a well-known literary figure, and of course I've been aware of him for years, and can name several of his books. However, this is the first time I've ever attempted to read any of his works.
Sadly, this will be his final novel due to his death around fifteen months ago.
The book remained incomplete at the time of his passing, but his son, Piers - an accomplished children's author - stepped into the breach and finished it off. However, it's impossible to deduce at which point another writer took over from the original, even though I looked hard for a change in style.
The narrative is very good, but it maybe could, and should, have been developed into an important political novel - but unfortunately, it never reaches those heights.
Nonetheless this is a very readable work that hits one or two targets, and I certainly wouldn't be adverse to reading one or two of Torday Snr.'s earlier books, given the time.
Fast forward to September 2010. Charles had become reasonably prosperous, and had moved into academia as Professor of Strategic Communications at Newcastle University. Andrew, who had bought a farm house on the Cumbria-Northumberland border, had become a front bench Conservative MP for a North of England constituency and was a member of the parliamentary committee which had just toughened up the Wildlife and Countryside Act.Read more ›
The central character in the novel is Charles Fryerne, political advisor to his old Oxford colleague, Andrew Langford. The two men are not close, but work well together. All is fine until the night that Charles and his wife Caroline are invited to stay with Andrew and his wife. Duirng the last part of the journey, the car, driven by Andrew, hits an owl that flies into the windscreen, and as a result is killed (there is more to this part of the story, but I want to avoid spoilers). Suffice it to say that because of Andrew's position as member of the select committee for the Wildlife and Countryside Act, the fact that he has ambitions to be party leader, and barn owls are a protected species, he is placed in a difficult position. This is made worse by Andrew's attempt at a cover up.
Charles too is placed in a very difficult position. He is a man who has always told the truth, and is a stranger to subterfuge, but despite this, he allows himself to be pulled slowly into a conspiracy that threatens both him and his marriage. Andrew is a cold, ruthless man who isn't going to let the death of an owl destroy his chances of political advancement, and has no compunction in sacrificing a friend and a friendship in the process.
I can't say much more as I don't want to spoil this novel for other readers. However, it is a fascinating and compelling novel, and I found it hard to put down as the futures of both these men hang in the balance.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I enjoyed The Death of an Owl (which I won on an instagram comp) and loved the way it has ended up being a two-Torday creation. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Eco bunny
A very readable book although i didn't enjoy it quite as much as some of his others. However,it's easy to read and has an interesting story lone involving an owl and politics - an... Read morePublished 5 months ago by jazzy2
Not particularly deep and profound. Readable though. Well written. Excellent pace. A fairly obvious ending and one dimensional plot. Read morePublished 7 months ago by bookish
I've always thought that Salmon Fishing in the Yemen was rather over-rated but I've still been happy to give a few more of Paul Torday's books a read. Read morePublished 8 months ago by boingboing
Not quite finished the book, but so far it has been the best I've read this year. It has not disappointed. Bravo!!!Published 9 months ago by Mrs Linda Weare
Loved the book. Couldn't tell which bit was written by Piers Torday.Published 9 months ago by Yvonne, Brighton
Absolutely superb. Very readable and typical Torday novel with a twist.Published 11 months ago by Mrs C
An unexpected further book from Torday.
Well done his son.