Charles Palliser's work has been hailed as "so compulsively absorbing that reality disappears" (New York Times). Since his extraordinary debut, The Quincunx, his works have sold over one million copies worldwide. With his new novel, Rustication, he returns to the town of Thurchester, which he evoked so hauntingly in The Unburied.
It is winter 1863, and Richard Shenstone, aged seventeen, has been sent down - "rusticated" - from Cambridge under a cloud of suspicion. Addicted to opium and tormented by sexual desire, he finds temporary refuge in a dilapidated old mansion on the southern English coast inhabited by his newly impoverished mother and his sister, Effie. Soon, graphic and threatening letters begin to circulate among his neighbors, and Richard finds himself the leading suspect in a series of crimes and misdemeanors ranging from vivisection to murder.
Atmospheric, lurid, and brilliantly executed, Rustication confirms Palliser's reputation as "our leading contemporary Victorian novelist" (Guardian).
"Starred Review. Though its graphic passages may be disconcerting to some readers, the novel wraps a genuinely memorable reflection on family and human fallibility in a wickedly entertaining, intricately plotted read." - Publishers Weelky
"Paranoia reigns supreme as the twists and turns keep multiplying in this gothic horror show adeptly spun by the author of The Quincunx." - Booklist
"Palliser vividly captures the claustrophobic feeling of a small Victorian community being overwhelmed by anxiety and mistrust..." - Library Journal
"Appropriately moody, lurid stuff but with plenty of plot cogwheels exposed." - Kirkus
"The gripping voice and masterful plotting swirl together in a relentless undertow of gothic intrigue and dread that's impossible to resist. Not that you'll want to. This is a brilliant read." - Kieran Shields, author of The Truth of All Things
"This is an extremely clever novel in which not only is there a mystery in the invented nineteenth century world of the story but also a mystery about the nature of the text the reader is reading." - Jane Harris, author of The Observations
"A wonderful, sly, compelling tale of mischief, greed, and malice." - Valerie Martin, author of Property
"Charles Palliser is a wonderful novelist, and Rustication is a wonderful novel." - Iain Pears, author of An Instance of the Fingerpost
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Rated of 5
Love Gothic toned novels and this was a new author for me so I did not know what to expect. Loved it, it is not scary but is very suspenseful, a winding puzzle, and many characters that are unlikable. Our main character is a young man who has been sent down from college he, has been rusticated, for reasons he feels it is in his best interests to keep secret. He is a very unreliable narrator, addicted to opium, obsessed with sex, well that covers just about every nineteen yr, old. so not unexpected, and should be very unlikable. He is not however unlikable, a bit self-centered but his musings were very entertaining.
A scandal, a plot , a cook who does not really know how to cook, an old house, threatening letters, a murder and there you have it, all the ingredients for a wonderful story. Those letters are very graphic in nature but are necessary to the story. They actually provide clues, though I was not able to decipher these clues and spent most of the book wondering what was going on. Love these types of stories and this one was very good.
Charle Palliser was born in Massachusetts, but has lived in the UK since the age of three. A graduate of Oxford University, he has published four novels. He lives in London, where he writes full time.
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