Be Near Me

Andrew O’Hagan

Longlisted for the 2006 Man Booker Prize.

Date Published
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** From the author of Mayflies **

‘There is no page on which there is not something surprising or quotable or pleasurable of thought-provoking.’ Hilary Mantel

‘One of the few truly essential works of fiction to emerge from this country during the past 20 years or more.’ John Burnside, Daily Telegraph

Longlisted for the Booker Prize, Be Near Me is a brilliantly moving story of art and politics, love and change, and the way we live now.

When an English priest takes over a small Scottish parish, not everyone is ready to accept him. He makes friends with two local youths, Mark and Lisa, and clashes with a world he can barely understand. The town seems to grow darker each night. Fate comes calling, and before the summer is out his quiet life is the focus of public hysteria. Meanwhile a religious war is unfolding on his doorstep . . .

Critic Reviews

A generous, wonderfully observed novel, and the best O'Hagan has written yet; it is also one of the few truly essential works of fiction to emerge from this country during the past 20 years or more.

John Burnside, Daily Telegraph
Critic Reviews

One of the novels of the year.

Rodge Glass, The List (Scotland)
Critic Reviews

Humour is a component of this novel's great humanity. O'Hagan is devastatingly amusing (rare enough), but even more unusually he eschews barbs, cruelty and gratuitous showing-off. ... Be Near Me establishes O'Hagan as one of our most sympathetic prose-poets. His talent is comparable to Muriel Sparks's, and he is kinder.

Ruth Scurr, The Times
Critic Reviews

A sensitive and poignant meditation on human isolation, Andrew O'Hagan's new novel is set in a small, forlorn community on Scotland's west coast ... First-rate writing and Chekhovian undertones capture a fractured society in which people are left without purpose, floundering in pools of their own isolation.

Daily Mail
Critic Reviews

O'Hagan employs many elements present in his first novel, Our Fathers, though reassembles them in different shapes here. The resulting patterns are complex and subtle.

Jonathan Derbyshire, FT Magazine
Critic Reviews

A work that portrays tragedy with such intelligence, tenderness and honesty ... There are no cliches in this book ... The language is precisely attuned to the circumstances, it is felt rather than imposed, so the story seems to be released by it instead of merely enabled, like a piece of music in the hands of a virtuoso musician. Time and again, unobtrusive phrases and rhythms elegantly conjure resonances: the children with their 'small energies of disdain' ...

John De Falbe, Literary Review

Andrew O’Hagan was born in Glasgow. He has been nominated for the Booker Prize, was voted one of Granta’s Best of Young British Novelists in 2003, and he won the E. M. Forster Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He is Editor-at-Large of the London Review of Books and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.

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