Author(s): Philip Hensher
The new novel from Booker Prize-shortlisted Philip Hensher - his most ambitious and daring novel yet. An astonishing novel, 'The Emperor Waltz' draws together various narrative strands into a compelling symphonic whole. In a third-century desert settlement on the fringes of the Roman Empire, a new wife becomes fascinated by a cult that is persecuted by the Emperor Diocletian. In 1922, Christian, a young artist, travels to Weimar to begin his studies at the Bauhaus, where the avant-garde confronts conservative elements around it. With postwar Germany in turmoil, while the Bauhaus attempts to explore radical ways of thinking and living, Christian finds that love will change him for ever. And in 1970s London Duncan uses his inheritance to establish the country's first gay bookshop in the face of opposition from the neighbours and victimisation by the police. Delving deep into the human spirit to explore connections between love, sanctity, commitment and virtue, Philip Hensher takes as his subject small groups of men and women, tightly bound together, trying to change the world through the example of their lives. 'The Emperor Waltz' is an absorbing echo-chamber of a novel, innovative and compelling, that explores what it means for us to belong to each other.
Praise for 'Scenes from Early Life': 'An unostentatious tour de force, combining a tender and richly affectionate family memoir with a vividly evoked portrait of town and country life and the story of the birth of a nation. It is full of surprises.' Margaret Drabble 'Beautifully packed with detail ... does for Bangladesh what Salmon Rushdie did for India with "Midnight's Children" ... It is a remarkable re-creation of a land that most of us know little about.' Sunday Times 'This is his most purely pleasurable novel to date.' Daily Mail 'Highly impressive ... for all Hensher's accomplished ventriloquism - his ability to inhabit the voice of a Muslim child and a history teacher at the same time - his own voice is not lost ... heart-breaking.' Guardian 'A deeply interesting book ... The joins are seamless ... It is inventive, clever and loving; a Booker candidate, I would have thought.' Spectator '...this delightful book shows for the first time what Hensher has largely concealed in the past: his heart.' Amanda Craig, Independent on Sunday
Philip Hensher is a columnist for the Independent, arts critic for the Spectator and a Granta Best of Young British novelist. He has written eight novels, including 'The Mulberry Empire' and the Booker-shortlisted 'The Northern Clemency', and one collection of short stories. He lives in South London.