Constance by Patrick Mcgrath
A Novel

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...many of McGrath’s glorious phrases made me catch my breath.
-NY Times


The cool, beautiful Constance Schuyler lives alone in Manhattan in the early 1960s. At a literary party, she meets Sidney Klein, a professor of poetry twenty years her senior. Sidney is a single father with a poor marital record, and he pursues Constance with relentless determination. Eventually she surrenders, accepts his marriage proposal, and moves, with some dread, into his dark, book-filled apartment.

She can't settle in. She's tortured by memories of the bitterly unhappy childhood she spent with her father in a dilapidated house upstate. When she learns devastating new information about that past, Constance's fragile psyche suffers a profound shock. Her marriage, already tottering, threatens to collapse completely. Frightened, desperate and alone, Constance makes a disastrous decision, then looks on as her world rapidly falls apart. Her only consolation, as the city swelters in an interminable heat wave, is the friendship of Sidney's son Howard, a strange, delicate child, not unlike Constance herself.

The story of a marriage in crisis and a family haunted by trauma, Constance is also a tale of resilience and loyalty, and of the moral inspiration that can lead even the most lost of souls back to the light.

About Patrick Mcgrath

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Patrick McGrath is the author of several critically acclaimed novels, including Asylum, Martha Peake, Port Mungo, Trauma, and Spider. Three of his novels have been adapted into films, including David Cronenberg's Spider (2002), for which McGrath wrote the screenplay. Born in London, McGrath lives in New York.
Published April 2, 2013 by Bloomsbury USA. 241 pages
Genres: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Romance, Literature & Fiction. Fiction
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Critic reviews for Constance
All: 4 | Positive: 3 | Negative: 1

NY Times

Reviewed by Julie Myerson on May 17 2013

...many of McGrath’s glorious phrases made me catch my breath.

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Above average
Reviewed by Mark Lawson on Jun 15 2013

Everything that made books such as Spider and Asylum so magnificent is here – tense scene-setting, ambiguous dialogue, complex psychosexual motives – but the plot and characters feel slightly willed into existence...

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Below average
Reviewed by Rachel Cooke on May 18 2013

...something has gone awry in Constance, and even though he's on such familiar feels, once you're deep inside, as if he's only going through the motions here...It's odd. How can a novel seem so perfunctory and yet so very talky?

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Financial Times

Reviewed by George Pendle on May 17 2013

McGrath has long been a great writer of modern Gothic...but there is something about this book that suggests he is deliberately pitching the old Gothic directly against the new, as if to see which is more terrifying.

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