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Winner of the inaugural Booker Prize in 1969.
It is 1956 and Townrow is in Port Said – of these two facts he’s reasonably certain. He has been summoned by the widow of his deceased friend, Elie Khoury. She is convinced that Elie was murdered, but nobody seems to agree with her. What about Leah Strauss, the mistress? And the invading British paratroops? Only an Englishman, surely, would take for granted that the British have behaved themselves. In this disorientating world Townrow must assess the rules by which he has been living his life – to wonder whether he, too, may have something to answer for . . .
Beautifully written, shot through with crisp, mordant wit.
Newby deserved, and deserves, more attention. Graham Greene called him “a fine writer who has never had the full recognition that he deserves,” and that’s as true now as it was in Newby’s lifetime . . . Something to Answer For is set in the Egypt of 1956, during the Suez Crisis, and it boasts a wonderful sense of place.
A vividly exciting novel.
Masterly . . . Egypt at the time of Suez is not the best place to mislay your background, have a mysteriously motivated love affair, or sort out the oddities of an old friend’s death. But Mr. Newby has a sure touch with the bizarre, and a pleasing comic seriousness.