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OK, Mr Field

Katharine Kilalea

A powerful and strange story of obsession, disintegration and loneliness, from a young writer with extraordinary talent.

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Date Published
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Shortlisted for the London Magazine and Collyer Bristow Debut Fiction Prize, 2019

Mr Field, a concert pianist travelling back from a performance in London, suffers a fractured wrist in a train crash. On a whim, he uses his compensation money to buy a house he has seen in a newspaper – a replica of Le Corbusier’s Villa Savoye — on the coast outside Cape Town. But when Mr Field moves there with his wife, Mim, he finds that the house has a disturbing and unexpected effect. Dwelling in the gaps within conversations, and the distances between people, OK, Mr Field is a powerful story of obsession, disintegration and loneliness.

Critic Reviews

Bewitching . . . With prose of this quality it is hard to protest, and Mr Field is in any case good company -- irascible and weird, but endearing in his attempts to duck the loneliness waiting for him at every turn.

Sunday Times
Critic Reviews

A startlingly good first novel . . . it is hard to convey the shocking accuracy of Kilalea's prose, which, ultimately, is what makes this novel so riveting. The absolute correctness of the vocabulary she uses makes one realise how pretentious and unnecessary the language in much contemporary fiction is . . . She has so much to convey about loneliness, madness and mortality . . . This curious, short book feels as uncanny as Kafka or Beckett.

Critic Reviews

Wonderfully original.

Sunday Telegraph
Critic Reviews

Enigmatic, often dream-like and brilliantly funny... A perfectly poised, funny and mad book about chronic loneliness, the struggle to connect with other people, or even feeling estranged from oneself.

Irish Times
Critic Reviews

A dazzling debut . . . As with much of Beckett's writing, OK, Mr Field is often bleakly comic. But at moments it is also tender (without being sentimental), depicting the strange, dream-like inner life of someone who is terribly lonely . . . OK, Mr Field introduces a striking new voice in fiction.

Critic Reviews

Unlike anything I’ve read. Kilalea explores absences between us – and inside us – in a novel of rare insight and power.

Joe Dunthorne, author of Submarine and The Adulterants

Katharine Kilalea grew up in South Africa and was awarded an MA in Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia. In 2009 her debut poetry collection, One Eye’d Leigh was shortlisted for the Costa Poetry Award and longlisted for the Dylan Thomas Prize.

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