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Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
A Lonely Man

A Lonely Man

A Novel

Chris Power

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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The author of Mothers delivers an existential mystery that explores the uncertain intersection between fiction and reality, and the disastrous consequences of a chance encounter.

Two British men meet by chance in Berlin. Robert is trying and failing to finish his next book while balancing his responsibilities as a husband and father. Patrick, a recent arrival in the city, is secretive about his past, but eventually reveals that he has been ghostwriting the autobiography of a Russian oligarch. The oligarch has turned up dead, and Patrick claims to be a hunted man himself.

Although Robert doubts the truth of Patrick’s story, it fascinates him, and he thinks it might hold the key to his own foundering novel. Working to gain the other man’s trust, Robert draws out the details of Patrick’s past while ensnaring himself ever more tightly in what might be either a fantasist’s creation or a lethal international plot.

Through an elegant existential game of cat and mouse, Chris Power’s A Lonely Man depicts an attempt to create art at the cost of empathy. Robert must decide what is his for the taking—and whether some stories are too dangerous to tell.

They met in Saint George’s in Kollwitzkiez, both reaching for the same book. ‘Sorry,’ they said together, drawing back their arms.

‘Please,’ Robert said.

Leaning back from his laptop ‘After you,’ said the other man.

His...

Praise for A Lonely Man

"Mr. Power . . . smoothly blend[s] prosaic day-to-day events with Robert’s fictionalized renderings of Patrick’s disclosures. But gradually the 'le Carré stuff' Robert saw merely as material presses in from the edges, and . . . consolidates for a killer payoff ending." Sam Sacks, The Wall Street Journal

“An elegant, atmospheric story of shadows and half-truths . . . A Lonely Man soon reveals itself as a taut, subtle, postmodern literary thriller written with an exacting command over its form . . . The final 50 pages are so tense, I found myself both too stressed to go on and too stressed to stop, a total captive to the story.” —Johanna Thomas-Corr, The Sunday Times

"Chris Power’s elegant first novel is a slyly ensnaring literary thriller written in immaculate prose . . . Power’s restraint pays off, making for a subtly immersive read, his sentences rippling like clear water even as the story’s murkier undertow pulls you out to sea . . . A Lonely Man is a gripping and deftly controlled novel that proves Power is as good at writing books as he is at writing about them." Louie Conway, Vanity Fair

“Well-constructed spy stories about lost and lonely men are a rarity these days . . . John le Carré and Roberto Bolaño are acknowledged, but unobtrusive influences on this slippery, ambiguous thriller . . . An all-too-plausible portrait of the lengths to which both states and individuals will go to seize ownership of a story.” —Claire Allfree, The Daily Mai… More…

"Mr. Power . . . smoothly blend[s] prosaic day-to-day events with Robert’s fictionalized renderings of Patrick’s disclosures. But gradually the 'le Carré stuff' Robert saw merely as material presses in from the edges, and . . . consolidates for a killer payoff ending." Sam Sacks, The Wall Street Journal

“An elegant, atmospheric story of shadows and half-truths . . . A Lonely Man soon reveals itself as a taut, subtle, postmodern literary thriller written with an exacting command over its form . . . The final 50 pages are so tense, I found myself both too stressed to go on and too stressed to stop, a total captive to the story.” —Johanna Thomas-Corr, The Sunday Times

"Chris Power’s elegant first novel is a slyly ensnaring literary thriller written in immaculate prose . . . Power’s restraint pays off, making for a subtly immersive read, his sentences rippling like clear water even as the story’s murkier undertow pulls you out to sea . . . A Lonely Man is a gripping and deftly controlled novel that proves Power is as good at writing books as he is at writing about them." Louie Conway, Vanity Fair

“Well-constructed spy stories about lost and lonely men are a rarity these days . . . John le Carré and Roberto Bolaño are acknowledged, but unobtrusive influences on this slippery, ambiguous thriller . . . An all-too-plausible portrait of the lengths to which both states and individuals will go to seize ownership of a story.” —Claire Allfree, The Daily Mail

“Power holds in a state of suspension two distinct narrative modes. There is the Le Carré-esque, Russian spy plot centred on Patrick, involving shady figures stealing computer hard drives and stalking street corners; and there is a looser, elegant literary flâneurism, reminiscent of Ben Lerner . . . This balancing act is expertly handled; both styles are refreshed and made strange by their contact with the other . . . Power unsettlingly resurfaces the theme of false memories, and the narratives we construct for ourselves from the truth.” —Lamorna Ash, The Times Literary Supplement

“Chris Power's striking debut novel, A Lonely Man is first-rate . . . bursting with potent, beguiling prose.” —Martin Chilton, The Independent

“This is an intricate and elegant story, and cleverly metatextual. A Lonely Man is an exploration of the creative process, and the sacrifices that are made in real life in the pursuit of art.” —Sarah Gilmartin, Irish Times

“A classy page-turner . . . Unbearably tense, the intricate narrative delivers electric drama as well as thought-provoking reflections on storytelling ethics.” —Anthony Cummins, Mail on Sunday

“Thrilling . . . No detail is superfluous, no incident incidental. This makes reading his elegant plot even more of an adventure, each clue an invitation to second-guess the narrative . . . A vodka shot of a read: down in one and savour the afterburn.” —Susie Mesure, i

"Power’s understated style abets the tension, creating gaps and unanswered questions that pull the reader along, recalling Hermione Lee’s description of Penelope Fitzgerald’s prose as 'plain, compact, and subtle' . . . An entertaining literary thriller that traces intrigue from the writer’s mind to the latest headlines." Kirkus (starred review)

"In this beguiling literary thriller about the ethics of storytelling, Power (Mothers) examines the plundering tendencies of oligarchs and writers alike . . . Power maintains an elegant sense of intrigue around the lengths writers will go for a good story." Publishers Weekly

"A Lonely Man left me unnerved and chilled. To read this book is to encounter a mysterious and shapeshifting stranger. Chris Power writes with masterful dexterity, and this novel reveals his genius for subtle misdirection and pulsing tension. A Lonely Man is a delicate snare of a novel, and by the time you realize that the characters are trapped in a lethal game, you are also trapped and powerless to resist its hold. I was breathless and nervous by the end of it. An alluring and seductive novel." —Brandon Taylor, author of Real Life

"A thrilling, unnerving novel following an international conspiracy and domestic solitude—A Lonely Man is one of those rare books that’s as entertaining as it is perceptive, a page-turner with exacting syntax and emotional heft." —Catherine Lacey, author of Pew

"Is it possible to spin a thriller, a real thriller, out of the deep and bitter mysteries at the heart of the creative process? With A Lonely Man, Chris Power shows us that it can be done, and done beautifully. This is a thinking person’s novel of suspense—and also one of the most vivid and unsparing accounts of the expatriate writer’s life that I’ve encountered. Mr. Power writes with genuine daring." John Wray, author of Godsend

"I loved this taut, graceful literary thriller, in which domesticity is as riveting as the threat of criminal entanglement. In A Lonely Man, family life—and love—is the beating heart of the story, creating an absorbing, menacing interplay between home, ambition and (self-) deception." —Megan Hunter, author of The Harpy

"A Lonely Man is a remarkable debut; an accomplished and intricately plotted story that manages to be both thrilling and deeply considered. If you're a fan of existential crises, family dramas, Putin-era paranoias, and Bolaño-style multiplicities, and want to see them woven into one taut novel, you're in the right place. A lonely triumph." —Jon McGregor, author of The Reservoir Tapes

"A Lonely Man manages to set an unlikely premise alongside extraordinary events, while speaking honestly about the overwhelming, mundane things of fatherhood and being a friend and husband. A very deft literary act." —Cynan Jones, author of Stillicide

"A Lonely Man entrances with its ingenious structure, haunting mood of paranoia and intrigue, and games of literature and violence played out in a seductively rendered Berlin. I savored every page." —Rob Doyle, author of Threshold

"A portrait of a man and his dawning, imperfect realization that his connections with others have been facile, even superficial, A Lonely Man is an unsettling portrait of contemporary masculinity. The prose has a lambent, hovering quality and the sinewy, clearness of line of a Simenon roman dur—it’s a very English, European novel. Power leaves us with a burden of fear and irresolution, something that is in the best of Le Carré or Ambler." —David Hayden, author of Darker With the Lights On

“Such grand themes as wealth, power, greed and truth itself are explored in an impressively deft and discrete way. Here a bottle of beer or an illicit kiss feel as subtly significant as the death of an oligarch or a mysterious man on the run. A Lonely Man is a tense and taut work that’s utterly European, and all the better for it.” —Ben Myers, author of The Offing

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Chris Power

Chris Power is the author of Mothers, which was longlisted for the Rathbones Folio Prize and shortlisted for the Edge Hill Short Story Prize. He lives in London.

image of Chris Powero
Eva Vermandel

Chris Power

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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