An absolute masterpiece of a debut. Both brutal and brilliant, this is a novel that gets right under your skin - historical fiction at its best!
By far and away the funniest, cleverest, most profoundly satisfying book I've read this year. This one's going to win prizes or I'll eat a shoe.
Elegant, moving and vital, that this book is the product of a deep interest and long study of one man's life and times is evident. But what Paterson Joseph does - what every writer of historical fiction yearns to do - is make history fall away so that in every moment we are immersed in a lived life. A stunning debut.
Absolutely loving this . . . A great storyteller and a fabulous actor. Well done, sir!
Powerful, searing, thrilling, important, this brilliant book of sympathetic imagination takes us into the heart and soul of the courage and spirit of Ignatius Sancho. Gripping, painful, it is both the story of one man and a continent, a story of stolen lives and shocking cruelty, a whole world told through a life. Paterson Joseph brilliantly brings the eighteenth century, the man and his the world to life and tells a story that will hold fast to your heart and not let go.
I love the man. He is a genius, The Secret Diaries are groundbreaking and beautiful, as is the author for whom this is a lifelong passion. Climb into this glass bottomed boat, for the time of your life as you float into the mind of Ignatius Sancho. Bravo Paterson Joseph you genius: More Secret Diaries please.
I hugely enjoyed it! The voice is stunning, I loved the whole project of creating this literary portrait capturing the peaks and valleys of a vastly varied life - and I loved, too, how he really brought Charles Ignatius Sancho to life as such a three-dimensional, flawed person. I feel very lucky to have been able to read it six months early, and will be recommending it to everyone I know!
I so admire Joseph's verbal imagination which seems to effortlessly bridge the gap between our time and Sancho's. In a huge, warm, real voice, Joseph makes us look at a past world from another perspective. It's terrific.
With his intriguing novel The Secret Diaries of Charles Ignatius Sancho, Paterson Joseph has fully inhabited the important eighteenth-century figure of Sancho. Taking the known facts of Sancho's life as a slave-born man who became known to both the black and white communities of London, from nobility to working class, Joseph breathes vivid life into the first black man to cast a vote in the England, but whose family ranked higher in his heart than any others in his life. The novel sings with the words of a man who survives his struggles, and expresses himself through music, language, and love.
An absolutely thrilling, throat-catching wonder of a historical novel. I read with alternating fascination, dread, hilarity, admiration, sorrow and triumph for a full life rendered with such animation, brilliance and understanding. Told in wonderful prose and with dazzling energy and brilliant panache. Hugely recommended
This is a compelling account of a fascinating life, written with adventure, wit and flair. Charles Ignatius Sancho has properly come to life in these pages.