The Garish Day

Rachel Billington, Author William Morrow & Company $0 (335p) ISBN 978-0-688-06167-8
Readers may initially react with skepticism to the publisher's comparison of Billington to Evelyn Waugh and Graham Greene. But it doesn't take long to recognize the truth in this claim. The author, whose previous eight novels include A Woman's Age and Occasion of Sin, is an exceptionally strong writer, and here offers an intricate, ironic story centering on the life of Henry Hayes-Middleton, born in 1940 to a seemingly mismatched couple. His father is a rigid fellow entirely devoted to his career in the British Foreign Office; his mother is a romantic, at times remote woman who tries for years to interest Henry in Roman Catholicism. Through his years in boarding schoool, at university and as a rising star in the Foreign Office, Henry will have none of it. But at the age of 30 or so, after his wife leaves him and he abandons his diplomatic career, he experiences what he labels a ""divine revelation''; his parents and friends, however, think he has grown mad. This polished work confirms Billington as a first-class contemporary British novelist. 35,000 first printing; $25,000 ad/promo. (May 21p)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1985
Release date: 01/01/1985
Hardcover - 528 pages - 978-0-7089-8361-4
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