“A one-sitting book that reverberates in the mind long after the final page”

The Daily Mail

Strange how this book turned out the way it is – ‘a one sitting read’ as the Mail put it… It was time to change, after the two epistolary novels, above all, it was time to risk an adult male voice for the first time. I was about 33 at this point I was ready for it. I felt I could do the voice without it becoming me. At the same time, I was becoming aware, however vaguely, that my interest lay most of all in those problems that hover on the borderline between the technical – something you can solve -and the existential – things you can only learn to accept and grow with. The hero of the book, George, comes from a religious background he is determined to reject in favour of a technical world. He goes for a career in network programming. But life throws up two huge problems that just won’t compute. His enigmatic wife, and then his terribly handicapped daughter. By turns the one problem masks the other, confuses the other. He doesn’t understand. And then there’s his libido too. It sounds schematic now, but at the time I only had George in mind this person, his pathos, and likewise the sadly handicapped daughter of a family I know well. I wrote 450 pages. It was rejected everywhere. Too long, too harrowing. Only when the American publishers actually sent me the proofs, almost two years after I’d written it, did I suddenly realise how the book should have been. In just three weeks working night and day I had it down to its present 200 pages. Unusually, I felt I knew exactly what I was doing. My favourite review was the Sunday Times, ‘a brutal, but beautiful book.’ When I saw that, I knew it was what I had been after.

Short takes

The horror of it all is brilliantly handled as an ordinary man is faced with the most dreadful of moral dilemmas


Parks pins down his characters with a quiet, but dreadfully accurate prose and then peels bare their duplicities, shames, fears and brutal impulses for our fascinated scrutiny

The Daily Telegraph