The Book of Guardians

Neale, Derek (2012). The Book of Guardians. London: Salt.

URL: http://www.saltpublishing.com/shop/proddetail.php?...

Abstract

This is a detective story set in 1980s Shrewsbury and Toronto. A social worker, Philip Eyre, searches for the father of a baby girl and finds himself obsessed by the girl’s mother who ends up in psychiatric hospital after trying to commit suicide. While investigating the case, Philip comes to question his own life – his own fathering and father.

The case apparently solved, Philip takes a job in Toronto as a researcher but becomes haunted by his own past. He returns to England, and a new obsession with the case gathers pace. Is the baby related to him? Are they connected by some strange literary provenance – Charlotte Bronte’s novel, Jane Eyre? By now he is randomly switching from one possibility, one bizarre plot about orphans and illegitimacy, to the next. He suffers a breakdown; the pursuit of an answer has turned back in on him; now he is the one who feels pursued.

The Book of Guardians is a haunting novel that leaves readers wondering whether it is possible to recall and know your own past with any degree of certainty.

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