Jenny Todd, Publisher at Canongate, has acquired World Rights in DARKE, Rick Gekoski’s debut novel, from Peter Straus at Rogers, Coleridge and White. 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.” Canongate will publish as a lead title in hardback in February 2017.
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 public schoolmaster, has cut off all contact from the world, pulled the curtains, closed his house and his heart. He is in an agitated state, mordant and desperate, uncongenial both to himself and (initially) to the reader. But there are surprises in store, for Darke is a novel about grief: about the loss of a talented and brilliantly realised wife, and a beloved daughter whom he chooses to shut out.
Drinking and smoking a lot and eating a little, he writes compulsively in his “coming of old age” journal. Meditating on what he has lost – the loves of his life, both dead and alive – he tries to console himself with the wisdom of the great thinkers and poets, but finds nothing but disappointment. If he is to slough off the darkness, he must do so himself. He slowly emerges from his self-imposed exile, drawn by the tender, bruised filaments of love for his daughter and grandson.
Rich in ideas and feeling, Rick Gekoski’s debut novel is provocative and timely. With scalding prose, ruthless intelligence and an uncomfortably vivid protagonist, it faces some of the greatest, most uncomfortable questions about how we choose to live, and how to die.
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
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 publisher for it and I was delighted to find that they agreed.”