Hawthorn & Child (Paperback)
New Directions, 9780811221665, 288pp.
Publication Date: September 23, 2013
A mind-blowing adventure into a literary fourth dimension: part noir, part London snapshot, all unsettlingly amazing
Hawthorn and his partner, Child, are called to the scene of a mysterious shooting in North London. The only witness is unreliable, the clues are scarce, and the victim, a young man who lives nearby, swears he was shot by a ghost car. While Hawthorn battles with fatigue and strange dreams, the crime and the narrative slip from his grasp and the stories of other Londoners take over: a young pickpocket on the run from his boss; an editor in possession of a disturbing manuscript; a teenage girl who spends her days at the Tate Modern; a pack of wolves; and a madman who has been infected by the former Prime Minister Tony Blair. Haunting these disparate lives is the shadowy figure of Mishazzo, an elusive crime magnate who may be running the city, or may not exist at all.
About the Author
Praise For Hawthorn & Child…
An idiosyncratic and fascinating novel... refreshingly contemporary in language and style.
— Zadie Smith
The novel that has impressed, mesmerized and bamboozled me most this past year is Hawthorn and Child by Keith Ridgway. It begins as a police procedural, then spins outwards, never quite coming back to explain the mystery. Breathtakingly unpredictable and unapologetically strange. And the writing is perfectly assured and elegant
— Ian Rankin
There is a dreamlike quality to Hawthorn & Child's sense of causality and connection. The detectives do not solve anything, and the book’s mystery is not the crime with which it begins but the lives that hold it together. It is not the closing of any case that preoccupies the book but the perpetual openness and irresolution of all cases, all identities. That is its punch, its poetry.
— Andrew Fox
Brilliantly well done. Everything about this vibrant, wonderfully written novel is alive, funny and deeply troubled. Read Hawthorn & Child. Better still read it twice: it is that real, that good, that true.
This is a mystery novel unlike any you've ever read. It's also a great one to start with if you're usually not a mystery reader. Its strangeness is reminiscent of Beckett's work, and Ridgway is a masterful storyteller.
Not only in its dialogue, but in its bawdy subversiveness, Hawthorn & Child is a thoroughly Irish affair. Samuel Beckett and Flann O'Brien come regularly to mind, although Keith Ridgway's blend of the grotesque and the absurd is all his own. An admirably conceived work of fiction.
Hawthorn & Child has all the moody stuff of the detective genre, but no suspects, no clues, no resolution. The novel becomes an impressionistic portrait of the London they see.