Today Hardcover – 1 Mar 2011
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`David Miller's quiet, subtle novel is not merely a story about Conrad and a tribute to Conrad. It is a Conradian achievement in itself. A wonderful piece of fiction. Moving and revelatory.' --A N Wilson
'Short and beautifully written... Miller succeeds brilliantly [with] a pared and unadorned prose that works its effect with a minimum of fuss.' --Sunday Times
'An impressive debut distinguished by its spot-on period detail.' --Financial Times
'A rich, often comic portrait of a family coming to terms with grief... A moving and surprisingly funny caricature of a quintessentially English family.' --Observer
'A sparse, taut novel... Genuinely moving' --The Spectator
"A sly chamber-piece of a novel.... Miller offers a psychologically convincing portrait of grief, one that - like much of Conrad's own work - suggests the barrier between civilisation and the void is paper thin. An impressive debut distinguished by its spot-on period detail. --Financial Times
"A subtle first novel... Its unsensational account of bereavement deserves a wide audience. The restrained prose adds bite to Miller's sparing use of simile." --Daily Telegraph
"Miller's slim, quietly elegiac novel on the death of Joseph Conrad in August 1924 is, despite elements of pastiche, compelling. Miller assumes the style not of his subject, but of novelists of the period, in particular EM Forster, whose A Passage to India had recently been published and is referenced throughout. Conrad's rasping final hours in his country house near Canterbury are played out off-stage, muffled, yet acutely felt." --Guardian
"Curious and compelling." --The Times
"Miller's debut packs an emotional, historical punch befitting a much larger canvas."
From the Publisher
A profoundly moving debut novel about the fragility of family love, the resilience of the living, the durability of memory and the experience of bereavement.See all Product Description
Top Customer Reviews
There is a huge list of characters at the beginning (no good for quick reference back to when you are reading on the Kindle!). For such a short novel this felt a little excessive. I also found myself getting a bit confused during the story and some of the turns of phrase and narrative felt a little odd to me.
However, I did still get some enjoyment out of the book and think it is an accomplished piece of work. I liked the 'typewriter', Lilian Hallowes best of all I think. A nice, quick read, but not quite for me.
The book opens with a "dramatis personae", which I found intriguing--it raises many questions and made me eager to find out how each character is attached to the other. From there we enter the life of Lillian Hallowes, secretary or "typewriter" to Joseph Conrad, as she prepares to go to John Conrad's (Joseph's son) birthday party. From then we experience Joseph's death and how this event reverberates through the family and other members of the household.
"Today" is beautifully written, it's deceptively simple and almost old fashioned with many layers...I found myself pondering the characters and their actions (past, present and future) for a while after I had finished the book. For a relative short book, "Today" is immensely satisfying, you get more from it than you'd imagine. Definitely recommended.
This slim, spare and beautifully written novel, looks at the shock of sudden death and its subsequent consequences, where the dynamics of family life are exposed through grief and bewilderment, and how amid the sorrow, there is a need for humour and for the realization that life goes on whatever. It must be said that, for a short book, there is a rather large cast of characters and it takes a while to work out who they all are, and how they are all related to each other - especially as the domestic staff enjoy an unusual familiarity with their employers - that said, I found this to be an involving, touching and, at times, a comical portrait of a certain kind of English family life. This is a quiet, but impressive debut from an author whose writing shows precision, restraint and, thankfully, humour (how can you resists lines such as: "his face looked as if it had recently been through a pencil sharpener"?) It will be interesting to see what David Miller decides on for his next novel and whether it will, like this, be a story set in a certain period and social class, or whether it will be something entirely different.