OK, Mr. Field: Book summary and reviews of OK, Mr. Field by Katharine Kilalea

OK, Mr. Field

by Katharine Kilalea

OK, Mr. Field by Katharine Kilalea X
OK, Mr. Field by Katharine Kilalea
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Book Summary

A mesmerizing debut novel about a concert pianist who fears he is losing his mind.

Mr. Field wants a new life, a life cleansed of the old one's disappointments. A concert pianist on the London scene, his career is upended when the train he is travelling on crashes into the wall at the end of a tunnel. The accident splinters his left wrist, jeopardizing his musical ambitions. On a whim, he uses his compensation pay-out to buy a house he has seen only once in a newspaper photograph, a replica of Le Corbusier's Villa Savoye on a stretch of coast outside Cape Town. Together with his wife, Mim, Mr. Field sets out in the hope that the house will make him happier, or at least less unhappy. 

But as time passes, the house - which Le Corbusier designed as "a machine for living" - begins to have a disturbing effect on Mr. Field. Its narrow windows educate him in the pleasures of frustrated desire. Its sequence of spaces, which seem to lead toward and away from their destinations at once, mirror his sense of being increasingly cut off from the world and from other people. When his wife inexplicably leaves him, Mr. Field can barely summon the will to search for her. Alone in the decaying house, he finds himself unglued from reality and possessed by a longing for a perverse kind of intimacy.

OK, Mr. Field is a strange and beguiling novel that dwells in the silences between words, in the gaps in conversation, and in the unbridgeable distance between any two people. Through her restless intelligence and precise, musical prose, Katharine Kilalea confidently guides us into new fictional territory.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Kilalea's striking, singular debut. ... is a disorienting and enthralling descent into one man's particular malaise." - Publishers Weekly

"Starred Review. An auspicious debut that challenges the reader to follow the progress of mental distress and bravely offers little relief from the painful sight." - Kirkus

"In her first novel, distinguished poet Kilalea describes Mr. Field 's emotions in a devastatingly evocative fashion." - Booklist

"One of the most original, beautifully written and convincing works of fiction I have read in a long time, with a narrative that is mysterious yet compulsive. Utterly marvelous." - George Szirtes, author of Bad Machine

"OK, Mr. Field is a novel brave in its own intelligence and subtlety. The writing is quietly beautiful and the narrator's voice strange and compelling." - Sarah Moss, author of The Tidal Zone

"Katharine Kilalea is to literature what ceramic knives are to cookery. This is a whole new type of writing and it will cut through everything." - Emily Berry, author of Stranger, Baby

"OK, Mr. Field is a beautiful novel - deeply felt, inventive, and inspiring in its form, insights, and originality." - Yasmine El Rashidi, author of Chronicle of a Last Summer

This information about OK, Mr. Field was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

Katharine Kilalea

Katharine Kilalea grew up in South Africa and moved to London for an M.A. in Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia. She has published a poetry collection, One Eye'd Leigh, which was shortlisted for the Costa Poetry Award and longlisted for the International Dylan Thomas Prize. She lives in London.

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