A beautiful, powerful and utterly devastating new novel from Orange-prize shortlisted author Georgina Harding.
The memory of war will stay with a man longer than anything else.
Dawn, mist clearing over the rice fields, a burning Vietnamese village, and a young war photographer gets the shot that might make his career. The image, of a staring soldier in the midst of mayhem, will become one of the great photographs of the war. But what he has seen in that village is more than he can bear, and he flees. Jonathan drifts on to Japan, to lose himself in the vastness of Tokyo, where there are different kinds of pictures to be taken: peacetime pictures of crowds and subways and cherry blossom. And pictures of a girl with whom he is no longer lost: innumerable pictures of Kumiko, on the streets and in the rain and in the heat of the summer.
Yet even here in this alien city, his history will catch up with him: that photograph and his responsibility in taking it; his responsibility as a witness to war, and as a witness to other events buried far deeper in his past. The Gun Room is a powerful exploration of image and memory, and of the moral complexity and emotional consequences of the experience of war.
About the Author
Georgina Harding is the author of three novels: The Solitude of Thomas Cave, The Spy Game, which was a BBC Book at Bedtime and shortlisted for an Encore Award, and, most recently, Painter of Silence, which was shortlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction 2012. She lives on a farm in the Stour Valley, Essex.
Georgina Harding's novel is the finely tuned work of a writer exceptionally at ease with her craft and a testament to the power and poetry of clean and disciplined prose -- Sadie Jones * Guardian *
Quietly and restrainedly, The Gun Room is a book that provokes searching questions * Daily Mail *
Graceful and considered ... The dreamlike quality is heightened by Harding's sharply observed prose ... As befits a writer adept at carefully cropped scenes, Harding has the measure of photography. The novel plays with its ability to captivate, shock, inform and misdirect * Sunday Telegraph *
In delicate, hypnotic prose, Harding describes the devastating effects of war and the trauma of bearing witness * Sunday Express *
A moving story * Elle Summer Reading *
Harding has the descriptive skills to do her subject justice ... Elegant * Mail on Sunday *
Her writing is so gentle and beautiful and takes you so confidently on a journey. I let myself be carried away -- Esther Freud
A captivating, superbly written novel about the impossibility of escaping from the past -- Simon Shaw * Mail on Sunday *
A powerful novel about war and its aftermath in memory ... The novel shifts between deliberately created images to the ones that populate and pollute the imagination. The narrative attends to its people with delicacy and detail. Stubborn and painful memories are evoked in a nuanced understatement, and the frequent inarticulacy of the characters only intensifies the power of the prose. The writing is allusive without ever losing lucidity, and the whole is beautifully orchestrated. It is an excellent novel, and one that is a worthy successor to her superb Painter of Silence * Abdulrazak Gurnah, Financial Times Summer Reading *