August 1924. John Conrad arrives at his parents' home on the outskirts of Canterbury, where family and friends are assembling for the bank holiday weekend. His crippled mother has been discharged from a nursing home, his brother drives down from London with wife and child. But as the guests converge, John's father dies.
Today follows the numb implications of sudden death: the surprise, the shock, the deep fissures in a family exposed through grief. But there is also laughter, fraud and theft; the continuation of life, all viewed through the eyes of Lilian Hallowes - John's father's secretary - never quite at the centre of things but always observing, the still point in a turning world.
Today is a remarkable debut, an investigation of bereavement, family and Englishness, beautiful in its understatement and profound in its psychological acuity.
'David Miller's quiet, subtle novel is not merely a story about Conrad and a tribute to Conrad. It is a Conradian achievement in itself. A wonderful piece of fiction. Moving and revelatory.' --A N Wilson 'Short and beautifully written... Miller succeeds brilliantly [with] a pared and unadorned prose that works its effect with a minimum of fuss.' --Sunday Times 'An impressive debut distinguished by its spot-on period detail.' --Financial Times 'A rich, often comic portrait of a family coming to terms with grief... A moving and surprisingly funny caricature of a quintessentially English family.' --Observer 'A sparse, taut novel... Genuinely moving' --The Spectator "A sly chamber-piece of a novel... Miller offers a psychologically convincing portrait of grief, one that - like much of Conrad's own work - suggests the barrier between civilisation and the void is paper thin. An impressive debut distinguished by its spot-on period detail. --Financial Times "A subtle first novel... Its unsensational account of bereavement deserves a wide audience. The restrained prose adds bite to Miller's sparing use of simile." --Daily Telegraph "Miller's slim, quietly elegiac novel on the death of Joseph Conrad in August 1924 is, despite elements of pastiche, compelling. Miller assumes the style not of his subject, but of novelists of the period, in particular EM Forster, whose A Passage to India had recently been published and is referenced throughout. Conrad's rasping final hours in his country house near Canterbury are played out off-stage, muffled, yet acutely felt." --Guardian "Curious and compelling." --The Times "Miller's debut packs an emotional, historical punch befitting a much larger canvas." --Daily Mirror