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Losing Nelson Paperback – 6 Sep 2012

4.1 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Windmill Books (6 Sept. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 009955853X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099558538
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 444,327 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Amazon Review

Admiral Horatio Nelson has remained one of the enduring heroes of English nationalism. Perched atop Nelson's column in London, the Admiral has been rattled on his pedestal with Tom Pocock's revelations in Nelson's Women. However, Barry Unsworth's devastating novel Losing Nelson takes the interrogation of the Admiral even further, in this dark, gripping study of the dark side of heroism and hero worship.

In the basement of his large anonymous North London house, Charles Cleasby obsessively re-enacts every manoeuvre of every single military engagement undertaken by his hero and "bright angel", Admiral Nelson. Cleasby's fervent admiration of the Admiral extends upstairs to his life's work, a biography of the great man. Cleasby's only assistant in his heroic struggle with Nelson is Miss Lily, a hired secretary paid by the hour, who carefully transcribes Cleasby's painstaking attempts to rescue Nelson's name from unpatriotic, academic cynics. Yet Cleasby's passion soon reveals a darker side, as he declares that he is in fact Nelson's "dark twin", sharing with the Admiral a parental bereavement at the same age. This, alongside the brutality of his emotionally crippled father, throws Cleasby into an agoraphobic tangent to everyday reality. His only solace is his growing attachment to Miss Lily, and the ongoing struggling with his bright angel, as the novel slowly and deliberately builds to its shocking climax.

Losing Nelson confirms the Booker prize-winning Unsworth as one of the most elegant but understated novelists currently writing. The historical grasp of Nelson is outstanding, but where the novel really excels, and also profoundly disturbs, is in its exploration of the tarnished angels of patriotism and heroism. This is an absorbing, troubling novel. --Jerry Brotton --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"It is accomplished, effective, exciting, and intelligent ... information is cunningly deployed, the pace is controlled: the mood of zealous desperation is heightened from page to page" (Hilary Mantel Sunday Times)

"Wonderful" (Barbara Trapido Independent on Sunday)

"Ingenious ... richly informative and sardonically entertaining" (Books of the year Sunday Times)

"This truly excellent novel delves deep into the tragic side of hero-worship and heroism, and is a work of pathos and power" (Guardian)

"Masterly" (Evening Standard)

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HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERon 18 September 2003
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