‘There is a lot of pain in Lord Jim at Home. And a lot of humour . . . If it weren’t such a pleasure to read, I’d say that Lord Jim at Home – read by a novelist, like me – was an instrument of torture. It’s that good . . . It is an accurate portrayal of how fucked-up people behave, artfully conveyed in a way that nice people are too polite to admit they understand.’ Ottessa Moshfegh, from the Foreword
Giles Trenchard is born into privilege – and an atmosphere of hidden violence and isolation. Wholly unloved, he is shipped off to one boarding school after another. Always hoping to live up to his family’s expectations he joins the Navy on the outbreak of war . The camaraderie of life offer him some semblance of purpose and contentment. Yet on his return from war, he finds himself adrift and one day – like the hero of Joseph Conrad’s classic Lord Jim – he commits an act so shocking that it calls his past, his character and his whole world into question.
When Dinah Brooke’s Lord Jim at Home was first published in 1973 it was described as ‘squalid and startling’, and ‘nastily horrific’ and ‘a monstrous parody’ of the upper-middle class. It reveals Brooke to be a daring writer long overdue for reappraisal, whose work has retained all its originality and power. Seething with cruelty and darkness, this strange, compelling novel is as unforgettable as it is unnerving.
‘Odd, nasty, unpredictable, funny and just downright different . . . A horror story of Patrick Melrose proportions . . . This book is a perfect martini with a razor blade at the bottom of the glass.’ Jenny Colgan, The Times
‘Superb in its observation and merciless in its telling, a very happy fiftieth anniversary to a brilliantly unhappy book.’ Strong Words Magazine
‘Startling … it has resurfaced with éclat.’ Margaret Drabble, TLS
‘You can only glory in [Brooke’s] skill.’ M. John Harrison, Book of the Day, Guardian
‘Full of horrors but energetic, funny and tense as a spring . . . plants its devilish brilliance deep in the reader and won’t let go.’ John Self, Observer
‘A forensic, controlled examination of the making of a psychopath . . . From the first moment, this book put its cold, cold hands around my neck and began to squeeze . . .Brooke’s writing is so terse, so controlled, so marvellous . . . I am chilled, startled and appalled.’ Victoria Mackenzie
‘A nihilistic satire on upper-class Englishness and emotional violence, it’s shocking and brilliant.’ Guardian
‘Emphatically not for the faint-hearted.’ Evening Standard
‘The most devastating read of 2023. Mercilessly observant, chillingly incisive, with a fable-like rhythm & cadence that gives this evisceration of the interwar elite a sense of timeless profundity.’ Eva Dolan
‘A crisp inventory of the horrors of growing up privileged in England between the wars . . . It is an ordinary family household, but seen from the underside it is a Renaissance court with its own rituals, threats and dagger-play.’ Times Literary Supplement
‘A very clever and very alarming novel [with] an almost heroic quality, a mythical truth.’ Financial Times
‘Evocative and excellently terse. . . [Brooke] has a cold and beady eye.’ Sunday Telegraph
‘Brilliant, chilling . . . Gripping and highly enjoyable.’ Illustrated London News