Jenny Todd, Publisher at Canongate, has acquired World Rights in DARKE, Rick Gekoski’s debut novel, from Peter Straus at Rogers, Coleridge and White.
Dr Rick Gekoski has been described as “one of the world’s leading bookmen.” A writer, rare-book dealer, academic and broadcaster, he has written several widely praised non-fiction books. This is his first novel.
I will never go out again. If I am incapacitated by severe illness or a heart attack, I will abjure the emergency call, suffer and die.
Dr James Darke, a retired schoolmaster, has cut off all contact from the world, pulled the curtains, closed his house and his heart. Drinking and smoking a lot and eating a little, he writes compulsively in his “coming of old age” journal, where memories of his wife and daughter, of his career as a public schoolmaster, and ruminations about life abound. He is in an agitated state, mordant and desperate, uncongenial both to himself and (initially) to the reader. But there are surprises in store. The revelation, when it comes, is shocking, and the set of social and moral issues that it raises are central to the dilemmas of human life, and to the nature and obligations of love.
Darke refuses to offer easy answers to complex questions, and as he slowly re-emerges from hiding, he reveals himself as a complex and flawed man of integrity, more sympathetic than you might have supposed.
A novel rich in ideas and human feeling, Darke is powerfully memorable, provocative, and timely.
Canongate will publish as a lead title in hardback in March 2017.
Praise for Rick Gekoski’s non-fiction:
‘A supreme example of a natural and skilled storyteller at work.’ COLM TOIBIN
‘Gekoski is funny, and it’s delightful to read about serious books and laugh at the same time. ’ JEANETTE WINTERSON
“The perfect bedside book for bibliophiles.” DAVID LODGE
Rick Gekoski says: “I don’t know where James Darke came from, his voice simply popped into my head and he wouldn’t go away. When I was writing the novel I was perfectly clear that Canongate would be the best publishers for it. I was delighted to find that they agreed.”
Jenny Todd says: “DARKE is a stunning and distinctive novel full of living, learning and reading. Above all, it’s heart-breakingly true and wise. We are so proud to be publishing it.”