The Small Hours
By Susie Boyt
A wonderful and startling novel about the havoc and pain, healing and love that comes with growing up in a family. Like A.L. Kennedy and Ali Smith, Susie Boyt is an exquisite writer, thoughtful and truly original.
Harriet Mansfield, brave, wry and handsome, is determined to triumph no matter what. With a decade of therapy under her belt and a new large inheritance, it seems there is nothing she cannot achieve.
So she decides to open the school of her dreams. To her precious little girls, rich in everything but care, she vows to provide the happiest childhoods in the world. For everyone knows that early years passed in delightful ways can set you up for life.
But can this ambitious new departure spill some retrospective sweetness onto Harriet's own harsh beginnings, or better still cancel them out altogether? Will the family she's estranged from ever grant her the recognition she craves?
Written with deep psychological insight and coal-black humour The Small Hours is a stunning meditation on love, self-love and forgiveness, and their shadowy opposites.
- Other details
- ISBN: 9781844088256
- Publication date: 01 Nov 2012
- Page count: 224
Susie Boyt is the author of four acclaimed novels and a memoir, My Judy Garland Life, which was serialised on Radio 4 and will be staged at the Nottingham Playhouse in spring 2013. Since 2002 she has written a weekly column about art and life for the Financial Times. She lives in London with her family.
Darkly funny . . . You can't help wishing that everyone was a bit more like Harriet — Marie Claire - Emma Herdman
The Small Hours excites with refined delights . . . Boyt's economical prose remains elegantly polished, her descriptions of the subtleties of psychotherapy spine-tingling . . . A meaty yet accessible novel possessing great psychological rigour — Sunday Telegraph - Lucy Beresford
An unsettling yet absorbing story — Metro - Ben Felsenberg
Boyt weaves an engaging combination of psychological insight and piercing black humour to produce a thoroughly engaging, thought-provoking story — The Lady - Mel Clarke
An exquisitely written tale of a damaged woman attempting to mend her past with a grand gesture — Psychologies magazine
The Small Hours is an absolute gem of a novel: exquisite, diamond-bright and lacerating to the hardest of hearts — Literary Review - Amanda Craig
Boyt delicately interweaves the revelation of Harriet's past with the unravelling of her present and skilfully leavens the inevitable tragic conclusion with the exuberance and chatter of the girls, who bring as much joy to the reader as their teacher — Daily Mail - Michael Arditti
Boyt has a gift for creating loveable protagonists . . . Boyt has studied Henry James and his stylistic influence is visible, both in the vibrant intensity of Harriet's character and the rich dramatisation of her consciousness — Independent - Freya McClelland
Harriet's pain is clear through the fine mesh of taut and witty prose — Reader's Digest - A N Wilson
A divinely dark book . . . The Small Hours reminds us of the best and the worst of how we treat each other — Sunday Herald - Jackie McGlone
Boyt is a compassionate chronicler of the human heart . . . The point of this novel is not whether your dreams succeed or fail, but whether you're still willing to risk having dreams at all. In Harriet Mansfield, Boyt has drawn a character whose moral and emotional courage is both convincing and heartbreaking — Financial Times - Rebecca Abrams