Up Against the Night: Book summary and reviews of Up Against the Night by Justin Cartwright

Up Against the Night

by Justin Cartwright

Up Against the Night by Justin Cartwright X
Up Against the Night by Justin Cartwright
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  • Published in USA  Nov 2015
    256 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

An enthralling tale of personal conflict and intrigue, set against the backdrop of South Africa's tangled past and troubled present, and told with tremendous color and insight.

Frank McAllister has long since dropped "Retief" as his middle name, but the legacy of his family's history proves harder to shake. His ancestor Piet Retief, leader of the South African Great Trek, was killed by Zulu king Dingane in the 1838 massacre, along with a hundred men, women, and children. Afrikaner legend paints Retief as a homegrown Moses, bringing his people to the Promised Land. But Frank believes something rotten lies at the core of this family myth.

Frank spends his days in his London home with his new partner and her son and the products of his wealth. But the return of his daughter, Lucinda, from rehab in California brings him intense guilt: having sided with him during his divorce from her mother, she crumbled under the weight of the bitter separation. Lucinda has brought home with her a mysterious boy, and they will join the family trip to Frank's beach house in South Africa--not far from the site of the 1838 massacre. In the lulls of their idyllic days, Frank unravels what really happened on that fateful day, and how it may connect to the violence of the apartheid years, and the violence encroaching on them even now.

Up Against the Night is an enthralling tale of personal conflict and intrigue, set against the backdrop of South Africa's tangled past and troubled present, and told with tremendous color and insight. Absolutely original and gripping, it is destined to be as influential as JM Coetzee's Disgrace.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"[Cartwright] writes a tale of one South African man that combines beauty, joy, and foreboding." - Publishers Weekly

"Starred Review. [Cartwright's] provocative tale of one troubled family mirrors the history of South Africa, from its brutal beginnings through its repressive apartheid years to its violent, vengeful present." - Library Journal

"Cartwright brings new twists and a sure touch to his tragicomedy about a decent man's rude awakening to shared history's capricious side. Caveat emptor, Ancestry.com." - Kirkus Reviews

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Author Information

Justin Cartwright

Justin Cartwright's novels include In Every Face I Meet, shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize; Leading the Cheers, winner of the Whitbread Novel Award; White Lightning, shortlisted for the Whitbread; The Promise of Happiness, winner of the Hawthornden Prize; Other People's Money, named Spear's Book Award Novel of the Year and included in Kirkus Reviews' Top 25 Best of Fiction; and, most recently, Lion Heart. Cartwright was born in South Africa and now lives in London.

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