With nods to Evelyn Waugh and Donna
Tartt, 24-year-old Ivo Stourton arrives on the
literary scene with The Night Climbers, set
against the extremely scenic backdrop of Cambridge
University. Ten years after leaving Cambridge,
events cause James Walker to revisit his time at the
University in the 1990s, where, as a wide-eyed,
social-climbing undergraduate he fell into a
glamorous and tightly knit group who, to the outside
world, lived an enchanted life of high living,
black-tie dances, private drinking clubs and
daredevil escapades. However, their existence is not
nearly as charmed as it appears to outsiders and it
is not long before young James learns that those who
fly too close to the sun tend to find themselves
plummeting to the ground with undue force.
Although clearly the work of a writer relatively young in years, The Night Climbers hits many notes firmly on key. The plot takes many twists, some more unexpected than others and, overall, rises above the potentially clichéd setting and premise to deliver a seductive and at times sinister tale. As Bethanne Patrick writes in a blog for Publishers Weekly, "Ivo Stourton does not succeed stunningly out of the gate; his reach exceeds his grasp. But that's what heaven's for, as well as second books. The Night Climbers is not a terrific novel, but parts of it are terrific reads -- and Stourton is definitely an author to watch."
About the Author: Ivo Stourton, son of
journalist and BBC correspondent Edward Stourton,
was born in 1982 and educated at Eton and Corpus
Christi College Cambridge, where he achieved a
Double 1st in English. He first came into the public
eye at 17 when he wrote and starred in "Kassandragay",
an award winning Edinburgh festival production about
the Vietnam war. In June 2006 he was signed in a two
book deal by publishing house Random House. His
first book, The Night Climbers, was published
in the UK in June 2007 and in the USA in September
"Massively frightened of heights" Stourton has not attempted "night climbing" himself, other than on one drunken night when he found himself clinging to a chimney pot 20 feet about a friend's window. He is described by the Guardian newspaper as "industrious, ambitious, charming and does not seem at all pleased with himself." He is training to be a solicitor (attorney) at the same time as writing his second novel.
This review was originally published in September 2007, and has been updated for the June 2008 paperback release. Click here to go to this issue.
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