The Haunt by A. L. Barker
A Novel

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Synopsis

A bewitching tale of the loves that comfort and the longings that haunt us. With sly humor, exquisite dialogue, smooth narrative, and a cast of wholly original characters, this new book by the widely acclaimed novelist and Booker-Prize nominee A. L. Barker explores the legendary Cornish forest and examines the human heart. At the Belle Chasse, a dilapidated seaside hotel on the tip of magical Cornwall, chaos slinks behind the limited amenities, as its weekend guests soon discover - among them, a second-rate artist who's driven a malfunctioning car across England to present his ex-wife with a nude he painted of her years before; a lonely child in need of a friend; and a couple in their sixties, Elissa and Owen Grierson, long-married and now plagued by the painful longings of a no longer magical relationship. If these travelers have come to a world haunted by ancient myths of heroic quests and holy grails, they themselves pursue more ordinary dreams as they stumble over their own enigmas and eccentricities in a way that prompted Auberon Waugh to declare that A. L. Barker "writes like an angel and I love her." "It is a glorious occasion to read a new novel by an author born in 1918 and to find it startlingly fresh, daring and instructive." - Times Literary Supplement; "Almost dauntingly fresh - glancing, mercurial, elusive." - The Observer; "Marries the deadpan timing of Kingsley Amis at his driest with a tinge of eerie nature-mysticism that brings Iris Murdoch to mind.... Hot, sparkling, exciting." - The Independent.
 

About A. L. Barker

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Published September 2, 1999 by Virago Press Ltd. 192 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense. Fiction

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Even though some of this dryly amusing tale takes place in Mellilot, the great house that stands in for Manderley, Barker (Femina Real, not reviewed, etc.) forgoes spooky ghosts in favor of a tale about Bellechasse, a déclassé hotel on the Cornish coast.

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Publishers Weekly

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(Jan.) FYI: Barker, author of 20 books, won the first Somerset Maugham Prize in 1947 for her collection of stories, Innocents, and was shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 1969 for her novel John Brown's Body.

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