Conrad & Eleanor by Jane Rogers
A Novel

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Heavily reliant on flashbacks and soul-searching and featuring a rather chilly cast of characters, the novel is more reflective than dynamic. Its strengths are the author’s intelligence, her avoidance of sentimentality, and the honest scrutiny she brings to bear on how intimate adult relationships age and settle.
-Kirkus

Synopsis

From the multi-award-winning and critically acclaimed author of The Testament of Jessie Lamb comes this riveting novel about the devastating secrets revealed in the midst of a disintegrating marriage.

The story of a marriage, and of two lives in science.

When Conrad fails to return from a conference, Eleanor wonders if it is because of the affair she is having? Or perhaps it is because his research into transgenic monkey hearts is stalling; perhaps he is sick of having the less successful career of the two of them?  She is a leading expert in stem cell research. Their grown-up children suspect Eleanor of murdering their father; El secretly fears that what has driven Con away is his discovery of their daughter Cara’s parentage.

While his family in Manchester, England, scrabble for clues and reasons, Conrad—alone, confused, and on the run from a crazed animal rights activist—loses himself in the cold foggy streets of Bologna. He revisits the stages of his long marriage to El, from the happiness of the year of Cara’s birth to the grief and anger he now feels. Both partners are forced to re-examine their relationship, and, in the process, to move closer to an understanding of what it is that matters most to each of them.

Conrad and Eleanor is a radical, remarkably nuanced look at marriage.

 

About Jane Rogers

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Jane Rogers has published eight novels, including Mr. Wroe's Virgins, Island, and The Voyage Home, as well as writing and adapting dramatic work for television and radio. She has won the Somerset Maugham Award, the Writers' Guild Best Fiction Book, has been a finalist for the Guardian Fiction Prize, and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. Her most recent novel, The Testament of Jessie Lamb, made the 13-title long list for the 2011 Booker Prize. A professor of writing at Sheffield Hallam University, she lives near Manchester in the north of England.
 
Published June 28, 2016 by Harper Perennial. 336 pages
Genres: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction. Fiction
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Critic reviews for Conrad & Eleanor
All: 3 | Positive: 2 | Negative: 1

Kirkus

Above average
on Mar 16 2016

Heavily reliant on flashbacks and soul-searching and featuring a rather chilly cast of characters, the novel is more reflective than dynamic. Its strengths are the author’s intelligence, her avoidance of sentimentality, and the honest scrutiny she brings to bear on how intimate adult relationships age and settle.

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NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by Benjamin Markovits on Aug 07 2016

The thriller plot does its job by making the slow-burn conflicts of their marriage flare up dramatically — it throws oil on the fire — even if Rogers herself seems less interested in the subplot than in the main story.

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Guardian

Below average
Reviewed by Stevie Davies on Jun 10 2016

Rogers abandons the structural device of alternating chapters in a compromise that frees Conrad and Eleanor from solipsism but falls just short of synthesis.

Read Full Review of Conrad & Eleanor: A Novel | See more reviews from Guardian