OVERRIDE

The Escape

A Novel

Adam Thirlwell

Picador

'The more I knew of Haffner,' writes Adam Thirlwell in The Escape, 'the more real he became, this was true. And, simultaneously, Haffner disappeared.'
 
In a forgotten spa town snug in the Alps, at the end of the twentieth century, Haffner is seeking a cure, more women, and a villa that belonged to his late wife. But really he is trying to escape: from his family, his lovers, his history, his entire Haffnerian condition.  For Haffner is 78.

Haffner, in other words, is too old to be grown up.

'The more I knew of Haffner,' writes Adam Thirlwell in The Escape, 'the more real he became, this was true. And, simultaneously, Haffner disappeared.'
 
In a forgotten spa town snug in the Alps, at the end of the twentieth century, Haffner is seeking a cure, more women, and a villa that belonged to his late wife. But really he is trying to escape: from his family, his lovers, his history, his entire Haffnerian condition.  For Haffner is 78.

Haffner, in other words, is too old to be grown up.

BOOK EXCERPTS

Read an Excerpt

Haffner Unbound1

And so the century ended: with Haffner watching a man caress a woman’s breasts.

It was an imbroglio. He would admit that much. But at least it was an imbroglio of Haffner’s making.

He might have been seventy-eight, but in Haffner’s opinion he counted as young. He counted, in the words of the young, as hip. Or as close to hip as anyone else. Only Haffner, after all, would have been found in this position.

What position?

Concealed in a wardrobe, the doors darkly ajar, watching a woman be nakedly playful

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REVIEWS

Praise for The Escape

“A witty, irreverent, and elegiac new novel.” —The New York Times Book Review

“A novel where the humor is melancholic, the melancholy mischievous, and the talent startling.” —Milan Kundera

“A wittily observant young author . . . Audacious.” —Joyce Carol Oates, The New York Review of Books

“Effortlessly blends reflections on memory with, say, hanky-panky in bathtubs. The result—enough to shock even a dedicated philanderer—is an accessibly cerebral story of one man and his tragic libido.” —Scott Indrisek, Time Out (New York)

“In The Escape, you can practically see Bellow’s Augie March, Roth’s Mickey Sabbath and Martin Amis’s John Self applauding, ghost-like, from the margins . . . The novel fizzes with intelligence, verbal skill and humour.” —Simon Baker, The Observer (London)

The Escape is one of the best British novels I’ve read this year for one reason: Thirlwell’s prose. At once effervescent and elegant, his narrative voice lifts the novel’s lecherous comedy beyond the sublunary lovers’ antics into a more rarefied sphere . . . The novel abounds, from start to finish, with graceful turns of phrase and slanting insights . . . What rescues The Escape is no deus ex machina, no twist in its plot . . . but instead the cadences and harmonies of a very fine composition.” —Sarah Churchwell, The Guardian

“Witty and engaging, erudite but fleet and sinuous; the questions he asks are lightly posed, his mock grandeur dispersing in a sea of ridiculous incident and comic undercutting . . . In this playful, eloquent novel, Adam Thirlwell demonstrates that knowing why one acts as one does is rarely the whole answer, or much more than the beginning of a question.” —Alex Clark, The Times Literary Supplement
“A witty, irreverent, and elegiac new novel.” —The New York Times Book Review

“A novel where the humor is melancholic, the melancholy mischievous, and the talent startling.” —Milan Kundera

“A wittily observant young author . . . Audacious.” —Joyce Carol Oates, The New York Review of Books

“Effortlessly blends reflections on memory with, say, hanky-panky in bathtubs. The result—enough to shock even a dedicated philanderer—is an accessibly cerebral story of one man and his tragic libido.” —Scott Indrisek, Time Out (New York)

“In The Escape, you can practically see Bellow’s Augie March, Roth’s Mickey Sabbath and Martin Amis’s John Self applauding, ghost-like, from the margins . . . The novel fizzes with intelligence, verbal skill and humour.” —Simon Baker, The Observer (London)

The Escape is one of the best British novels I’ve read this year for one reason: Thirlwell’s prose. At once effervescent and elegant, his narrative voice lifts the novel’s lecherous comedy beyond the sublunary lovers’ antics into a more rarefied sphere . . . The novel abounds, from start to finish, with graceful turns of phrase and slanting insights . . . What rescues The Escape is no deus ex machina, no twist in its plot . . . but instead the cadences and harmonies of a very fine composition.” —Sarah Churchwell, The Guardian

“Witty and engaging, erudite but fleet and sinuous; the questions he asks are lightly posed, his mock grandeur dispersing in a sea of ridiculous incident and comic undercutting . . . In this playful, eloquent novel, Adam Thirlwell demonstrates that knowing why one acts as one does is rarely the whole answer, or much more than the beginning of a question.” —Alex Clark, The Times Literary Supplement

Reviews from Goodreads

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Adam Thirlwell

  • Adam Thirlwell was born in London in 1978. He is the author of two novels, Politics, and The Escape. In 2003, Granta listed him among its 20 best young British novelists. His much-praised book on the international art of the novel, The Delighted States, won the Somerset Maugham Award in 2008. His work has been translated into 30 languages.

  • Adam Thirlwell Eamon McCabe
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Available Formats and Book Details

The Escape

A Novel

Adam Thirlwell

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FROM THE PUBLISHER

Picador

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