by Adam Thirlwell
$25.00 List Price
Adam Thirlwell loves to write about sex. It's is the central activity in The Escape, upholstered—like everything else in this allusive, philosophical, melancholy comedy—in mock-heroic chutzpah. Thirlwell's word choices are showy, his phrasing bravura: "They had sat in the rose garden, in the pale sunshine, a police siren tumescing and detumescing in the background. . . . A tree was leafing through itself, anxiously."
The novel takes place "in the final year of the twentieth century," in a spa town somewhere in the former Czechoslovakia. Its hero, an elderly Jewish banker named Raphael Haffner, has journeyed there from London to reclaim the family villa of his late wife, Livia. The mansion had been "appropriated first by the Nazis, then by the Communists, and finally by nationalist capitalists"—a backdrop that
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