Chapman's Odyssey by Bloomsbury Publishing
A Novel

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Synopsis

So here he was at last, where he had long feared to be.



Harry Chapman is not well, and he doesn't like hospitals. Superficially all is as it normally is in such places, with nurses to chide him and a priest to console. But there are more than usual quotient of voices - is it because of Dr Pereira's wonder drug that he can hear the voice of his mother, acerbic and disappointed in him as ever? Perhaps her presence would be understandable enough, but what is Pip from Great Expectations doing here?


More and more voices add their differing notes and stories to the chorus, squabbling, cajoling, commenting. Friends from childhood, lovers, characters from novels and poetry. His father, fighting in the First World War. Babar and Céleste, who dances with Fred Astaire. Jane Austen's Emma. His aunt Rose, 'a stranger to moodiness'. Christopher Smart's cat Jeoffrey. A man who wants to sell him T. S. Eliot's teeth. Virginia Woolf, the scourge of servants. And, of course, an old friend who turns up at his bedside principally to rehearse the litany of his own ailments.


Slowly, endearingly, the life of Harry Chapman coalesces before our eyes, through voices real and unreal. Written with a gentle, effortless generosity, full of delicate observation, Chapman's Odyssey is the work of a master; a superbly rendered act of storytelling and ventriloquism that is waspish, witty, deeply moving and wise by turns and which constantly explores 'the unsolvable enigma of love'.
 

About Bloomsbury Publishing

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Sandy Black is Professor of Fashion and Textile Design and Technology at London College of Fashion, University of the Arts, London, UK.Amy de la Haye is the Rootstein Hopkins Chair of Dress History and Curatorship at London College of Fashion, University of the Arts, London, UK.Joanne Entwistle is Senior Lecturer, Culture, Media and Creative Industries at King's College, London, UK.Agnà ̈s Rocamora is Reader in Social and Cultural Studies at London College of Fashion, University of the Arts, London, UK.Regina Root is Associate Professor of Hispanic Studies at the College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, VA, USA.Helen Thomas is Director of Doctoral Programmes at the University of the Arts, London, UK.
 
Published November 13, 2012 by Bloomsbury USA. 225 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Chapman's Odyssey

Kirkus Reviews

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Also claiming the stage—and enlivening this relatively static story—are a host of literary characters and cultural figures, from Fred Astaire to Jane Austen’s Emma Woodhouse to Charles Dickens’ Pip to Herman Melville’s Bartleby to Dostoevsky’s Prince Myshkin.

Jul 01 2012 | Read Full Review of Chapman's Odyssey: A Novel

The Guardian

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Chapman's Odyssey by Paul Bailey Buy it from the Guardian bookshop Search the Guardian bookshop The creation of Harry Chapman – a former actor-turned-novelist who m...

Jan 22 2011 | Read Full Review of Chapman's Odyssey: A Novel

The Guardian

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The earlier heroes were named after tangential figures in literary history – Christopher Smart's father, Edmund Spenser's best friend – and while Harry Chapman in the new book has no such forebear, his surname enables the book's playful title.

Jan 09 2011 | Read Full Review of Chapman's Odyssey: A Novel

The Telegraph

Yet part of the power of Chapman’s Odyssey – a power that intensifies as you delve deeper – is that it puts a central idea in Western culture to the test: does the literary life, the life in culture or the life of the mind, really console us when the Great Distinguished Thing, to borrow ...

Jan 14 2011 | Read Full Review of Chapman's Odyssey: A Novel

Express

IN 1996 when my biography of Laurence Olivier appeared, Paul Bailey gave me a right stinker of a review, really not very nice.

Jan 16 2011 | Read Full Review of Chapman's Odyssey: A Novel

Express

IN 1996 when my biography of Laurence Olivier appeared, Paul Bailey gave me a right stinker of a review, really not very nice.

Jan 16 2011 | Read Full Review of Chapman's Odyssey: A Novel

City Book Review

In his drugged state Chapman, like his creator, a retired actor and well-known novelist, is visited by long-dead figures from his childhood—his mother, Alice, moody and domineering, who once ironed his handkerchiefs;

Oct 16 2012 | Read Full Review of Chapman's Odyssey: A Novel

Shelf Awareness

The Concord Bookshop, Concord, Mass., has new majority shareholders: Dawn and Jon Rennert.

Jul 03 2012 | Read Full Review of Chapman's Odyssey: A Novel

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