Published July 2012
272 pages, Paperback
Devlin Urquhart , an Oxford student disillusioned with his privileged past and the aesthetic life, heads for Yorkshire and a simpler identity as a gardner. He is employed by a well-connected Colonel in this capacity. But one's past does not lie down quietly, and everywhere Devlin roams, the tendrils of his former life reach out to him.
Meanwhile the spirited youngest daughter of an eminent London psychologist rebels against her father's bombastic behaviour by throwing a treasured family heirloom against an antique mirror, shattering both the mirror and her father's complacency. They both go on to play a bizarre role in Devlin's fate.
This picaresque, comic novel wittily satirises the social mores and youthful idealism that prevailed in London and the Home Counties between the wars, and will be a treat for the considerable number of MacNeice devotees across the Anglophone world.
- Frederick Louis MacNeice was born in Belfast in 1907, brought up in Carrickfergus, Co. Antrim and educated in England. He studied Classics and Philosophy at Oxford and was known as a translator, literary critic, playwright, autobiographer, BBC producer and feature writer as well as a poet. He died in London in 1963, and was buried in Carrowdore churchyard in County Down, alongside his mother.Jon Stallworthy
- Born in 1935, Jon Stallworthy FBA FRSL is Professor Emeritus of English at the University of Oxford. He is also a Fellow and (twice) Acting President of Wolfson College, a poet, and literary critic. Stallworthy's biography
of Louis MacNeice was published in 1996.