A Landing on the Sun

Michael Frayn

A fiction masterpiece from the author of Spies and Skios, winner of the Sunday Express Book of the Year Award

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For fifteen years, ever since the taciturn civil servant Stephen Summerchild fell to his death from a window, there have been rumours. So Brian Jessel, a young member of the Cabinet Office, is diverted from his routine work and asked to prepare an internal report. Slowly, from the archives in the registry, Jessel begins to reconstruct Summerchild’s last months. It emerges that, at a time when America had just put men on the moon, the British were involved in an even bolder project, and that Summerchild was investigating a phenomenon as common as sunlight, but as powerful and dangerous as any of the forces that modern science has known. The secret world into which Brian Jessel stumbles turns out to be even more extraordinary than his department had feared.

Critic Reviews

An elegance and cunning reminiscent of Henry James.

New York Times Book Review
Critic Reviews


Daily Telegraph
Critic Reviews

Brilliant . . . Guilt and blame, cause and effect, the heady nature of love and madness; all these issues are raised and pondered . . . A book whose constant is surprise.

Scotland on Sunday
Critic Reviews

Here, with great skill and remarkable economy, he seeks not to amuse but to move. But the lightness of the prose, and the delicacy of the irony belong to the Frayn we know, though here in the service of new depth, new probings.

Anthony Burgess, Independent

Michael Frayn was born in London in 1933 and began his career as a journalist on the Guardian and the Observer. His novels include Towards the End of the Morning, Headlong, Spies and Skios. His seventeen plays range from Noises Off, recently chosen as one of the nation’s three favourite plays, to Copenhagen, which won the 1998 Evening Standard Award…

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