The Optimists by Andrew Miller

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Synopsis

Clem Glass was a successful photojournalist, firm in the belief that photographs could capture truth and beauty. Until he went to Africa and witnessed the aftermath of a genocidal massacre.
Clem returns to London with his faith in human nature shattered and his life derailed. Nothing-work, love, sex- can rouse his interest and no other outlook can restore his faith. The one person Clem is able to connect with is his sister, who has made her own sudden retreat from reality into the shadows of mental illness, and he finds some peace nursing her back to health in rural Somerset. Then news arrives that offers him the chance to confront the source of his nightmares.

From the celebrated author of Ingenious Pain and Oxygen, this is a masterfully rendered novel that explores the perilously thin line between self-delusion and optimism.

 

About Andrew Miller

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Andrew Miller's first novel, Ingenious Pain, won the James Tate Memorial Prize for Fiction. He has since written five novels including Casanova and Oxygen, which was a finalist for the Whitbread Award and the Booker Prize in 2001. He lives in Somerset England.
 
Published May 6, 2013 by Mariner Books. 324 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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When he learns that Ruzinanda has surfaced in Brussels, Clem hops the next plane for the book’s curiously irresolute climactic section, in which he confronts the killer and is challenged by a young woman (related in some way to Ruzinanda) who reminds him of Europeans’ genocidal activities in Africa.

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The Guardian

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The Optimistsby Andrew Miller Sceptre £16.99, pp311 'This novel is not about the Rwandan genocide and was never intended to be so,' Andrew Miller explains in his acknowledgments at the end of The Optimists, though any reader who has come this far will have understood as much.

Mar 20 2005 | Read Full Review of The Optimists

The Guardian

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The Optimists by Andrew Miller 313pp, Sceptre, £16.99 The optimists of Andrew Miller's title are not much evident in his book, which inhabits a territory bordered on one side by violence and on the other by madness.

Mar 19 2005 | Read Full Review of The Optimists

Publishers Weekly

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Harcourt , $24 (320p) ISBN 0-15-100727-6A powerful study of emotional trauma, English writer Miller's third novel (after Ingenious Pain and Oxygen ) probes the horrors of genocide as well as what Hannah Arendt called "the banality of evil."

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London Review of Books

In his third novel, Oxygen (2001), Miller cast off the breeches and capes to write about a mother suffering from terminal cancer whose sons go to her house in the country to help nurse her.

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