Publication: Hamish Hamilton, 1999, London
First edition. Fine in dust jacket. From the author of The Morality Play and co-winner of the Booker Prize in 1995 along with co-winner Michael Ondaatje's The English Patient. Charles Cleasby is obsessed with his hero, Lord Horatio Nelson. Charles has no life beyond this obsession. He reenacts Nelson's battles in a special room in his house, attends the Nelson Club, and, most importantly, in hopes of proving his own firm conviction that Nelson was a perfect hero who never did anything that was less than heroic, is writing a biography of Nelson. In doing so, Cleasby is troubled by two things ... his typist, Miss Lily, asks several unsettling questions about Nelson's megalomania, his indifference to the sufferings of his men, and his craving for celebrity. The second matter of concern is that of an historical event ... Nelson's apparent collusion in the betrayal of some Jacobin rebels in Naples, who left their fortresses under a promise of safe conduct but were arrested and executed. Cleasby's hopes to "clear" Nelson's name lead him further and further into the byways of his obsession, which, having started as a hobby, becomes a kind of derangement.
Inventory Number: 2886