When you come across these lines on Page 2 of the novel you're reading, you know you have a terrific book in your hands.
Here is another passage that had me marvelling at the author's powers of description:
He heard their footsteps in the hall and he looked towards the bathroom door, preparing the wry grin he was going to use when they entered. Then, on the far side of the bathroom, he saw his partial denture standing in three inches of Listerine in its glass on the side of the basin; the six front upper teeth, moulded in acrylic and stained progressively over the years to match his real teeth. His stomach lurched. He pushed his tongue to the front of his palate and found the concavity there, with its twin surgical pegs that docked with the denture. He didn't know what he had been hoping for — that his teeth might be in two places at once, simultaneously there in the glass and here in his mouth. Somewhere in his mind his front teeth were scattered white seeds on the boards of a velodrome track. But Christ, he didn't want that memory.Seeing his falsies in the glass gave him a desperate strength, and he hauled up again on the sides of the bath. This time he was able to heave himself over the rim. He collapsed on the floor like wet meat and dragged himself to the basin, racing the girls' footfalls as they came up the hallway. The gap in his teeth was a nakedness worse than nudity. He went faster, dragging his useless legs across the lines in the linoleum, and he felt every tenth of every second cutting into him.He heard the bathroom door opening just as his hand reached up and found his denture. He grabbed it, brought it to his mouth and fumbled it with his freezing hands. It bounced off the rim of the sink and spun through the air. It sank, with the discreet splash of a near-perfect dive, into the toilet bowl.
This is the kind of brilliant writing that makes a book a page-turner. As soon as I am done with Gold, which should be soon, I plan to look for Chris Cleave's previous two novels, The Other Hand and Incendiary, both of which were bestsellers.
- Visit Chris Cleave's website here.