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The Blue Book

Written by A.L. Kennedy

  • 384 Pages
  • 9781770891852
  • FICTION / Humorous
  • FICTION / Literary



Publication Date August 08, 2012

Elizabeth Barber is crossing the Atlantic by liner with her perfectly adequate boyfriend, Derek, who might be planning to propose. In fleeing the UK — temporarily — Elizabeth may also be in flight from her past and the charismatic Arthur, once her partner in what she came to see as a series of crimes. Together they acted as fake mediums, perfecting the arcane skills practiced by effective frauds.

Elizabeth finally rejected what once seemed an intoxicating game. Arthur continued his search for the right way to do wrong. He now subsidizes free closure for the traumatized and dispossessed by preying on the super-rich. The pair still meet occasionally, for weekends of sexual oblivion, but their affection lacerates as much as it consoles.

Elizabeth hadn't, however, expected the other man on the boat. As her voyage progresses, Elizabeth's past is revealed, and codes slowly form and break as communication deepens. It's time for her to discover who are the true deceivers and who are the truly deceived.

But is the book itself — a fiction which may not always be lying — deceiving the reader? Offering illusions and false trails, magical numbers and redemptive humour, this is a novel about what happens when we are misled and when we are true: an extraordinarily intricate and intimate journey into our minds and hearts undertaken by a writer of great gifts — a maker of wonders.

Long-listed for the Orange Prize for Fiction 2012


A.L. Kennedy

The author of six novels, three books of nonfiction, and five collections of short stories, A. L. Kennedy’s last novel, The Blue Book, was longlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction, and her novel Day was the 2007 Costa Book of the Year. She has twice been selected as one of Granta’s Best of Young British Novelists and has won a host of other awards. She lives in London and is a part-time lecturer in creative writing at Warwick University.


"It may take a while to find your land-legs after reading Kennedy, but the trip will have been well worth while." Independent

"[Kennedy] whip[s] up cyclones of prose ..." Georgia Straight

"... an interesting, ambitious work ..." Montreal Gazette

"A moving story, worth reading." Globe and Mail

"[Kennedy's] writing really dazzles, her prose is precise and crafted, and her eye for detail and her sense of what's important in people's lives and minds is as sharp as a scalpel." Toronto Star