'A lexical celebration and a psychological conundrum... Royle explores loss and alienation perceptively and inventively.'—Guardian
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Nicholas Royle challenges and experiments with literary form to forge a new mode of storytelling that is both playful and inquisitive. Tender, absorbing and at times shockingly funny, this extraordinary novel is both mystery and love story. It confronts the mad hand of grief while embracing the endless possibilities of language.
Facing the disarray and disorientation around his father’s death, a man contends with the strange and haunting power of the house his parents once lived in.
He sets about the mundane yet exhausting process of sorting through the remnants of his father’s life – clearing away years of accumulated objects, unearthing forgotten memories and the haunted realms of everyday life. At the same time, he embarks on an eccentric side-project. And as he grows increasingly obsessed with this new project, his grip on reality seems to slip.
Nicholas Royle is also the author of An English Guide to Birdwatching (Myriad, 2017).
John Self, The Asylum13 March 2015
Quilt is one of those books I long for but come across rarely... It is strange, surprising, sui generis. In his afterword, Royle says that 'a novel wants to be a joy forever, or, let’s say, a joy-fever, a fever that resists treatment, that stays with you awhile and can come back, at once chronic and fitful.' It is the perfect description for Quilt, with its overturning qualities, its ability to stick in the head while resisting resolution, and its determination not to leave the reader feeling that the end of the text is the end of the reading experience. What my reading life needs – what the literary world needs – is more Quilts and fewer comfort blankets.
Sarah Wood11 March 2015
This is a thoughtful, intelligent, exploratory book but not a solemn one. There's powerful emotional warmth and engagement as well as an infectious delight in words and in comic or bizarre touches of experience. Quilt's subject-matter, the death of the narrator's father and what happens in the following weeks, is undeniably sad but the writing is so vivid, so attentive and lovingly human, that the effect on me was revitalising. I read it again. The brief Afterword suggests some very interesting ways of thinking about fiction today, what it can do and what it might do. It also prompts a rethinking about Quilt itself. Royle's critical work is justly famous and has always had a kind of inventiveness more usually associated with literary writing. In Quilt he takes this creative energy to the level, as Cixous comments on the back cover, of mythmaking. It's an exciting development for English novel-readers.
Booksquawk5 March 2015
It's an experiment, a curiosity and... a stirring manifesto addressing the future of the novel itself... The author loves words, he rolls around with them, he plays with them, he gorges himself on them and occasionally he beats us with them. Royle's lapses into poetry, nonsense phrases, prosody and the simple melody of language is sometimes a joy to behold. It recalls David Mitchell's lyrical bravado in some of his novels... like Myriad's other releases this book has an assured seal of quality from the very first line. In a world where our very language is being appropriated by advertising, propaganda and whatever new technologies can do to mangle it, Royle asserts that the novel has to survive by adapting, staying fresh... and undergoing bizarre metamorphoses.