I thoroughly enjoyed this second novel – novella, really – by a founder of Wales Arts Review. With shades of The Talented Mr Ripley, it’s a dark, fast-paced literary thriller which centres on the fate of artist Francis Benthem who ostensibly created an enviable new life for himself, painting in Cyprus. But when he’s found dead, his former protégé, visiting the island to attend his funeral, gets himself thoroughly mixed up in its underworld after meeting a mysterious Russian benefactor, and caught up in the mystery of what happened to the Golden Orphans.
This review appeared in ‘Previewer’s Picks’ in The Bookseller Magazine in 2018 and gives an exciting taster of what could be expected in Raymond’s at that point still-anticipated thriller.
Our next event takes place on the 11th February 2019 and will be an exploration of the literary thriller genre. Cardiff author Gary Raymond will be in residence to discuss his new book, The Golden Orphans, alongside speakers Dr. Fiona Peters and Dr. Hannah Hamad.
Tickets are available on Eventbrite.
Gary Raymond’s The Golden Orphans (Parthian, £8.99) starts off in classic Brit abroad mode as a down-on-his-luck artist travels to Cyprus to attend the funeral of his mentor and fellow painter, Frances Bentham. The unnamed narrator takes on his teacher’s old job, working for a … Continue reading Jeff Noon reviews The Golden Orphans
Writing for the Wales Art Review in September 2018, Jim Perrin reviews Gary Raymond’s new novel, The Golden Orphans. Read the review here and whet your appetite in readiness for our next BookTalk event on 11th Feb. 2019!
Cardiff University MA student and regular BookTalker, Caitlin Coxon, reports upon our March event, Laura Powell in conversation with Sophie Coulombeau.
Betty watches the row of cars waiting to follow the hearse. Or the grand car, as Mr Eden calls it. Betty is pleased that Mother gets a grand car and lots of eyes on her. She’ll like that. The grass is wet around the grave pit. A big brown box is lowered into the earth. Gallagher still isn’t in the crowd; she checked. He will come though.
A man wearing a white robe says a prayer. Mrs Eden cries. Mother hates Mrs Eden. She will hate Mrs Eden crying too. I’ve no time for that green-eyed woman, that’s what Mother says, even though Mrs Eden has brown eyes. Mother’s eyes are a beautiful ice blue.
Betty wanders off to find the nearest tree; it is an oak. She presses her head against its trunk and lets it take some of her weight. The heaviness has returned but she has hardly eaten so shouldn’t she be losing heaviness? Maybe she should have a nap on this branch. Would this be a good place to sleep, Mother? She tries to hoist herself up but her arms are weak as butter. Mr Eden appears then. He smiles gently.
‘Time to go home,’ he says.
‘Where’s home?’ Mr Eden rubs his chin. Grey stubble pricks through the pores.
‘You need to shave,’ she says to be helpful.
‘Hotel Eden,’ he says. ‘It’ll always be your home.’
‘Thank you.’ Because that’s what you’re supposed to say to people who are trying to be kind – and he sounds kind, but she doesn’t really feel thankful.
She feels nothing apart from heaviness.
Taken from The Unforgotten, Chapter 17.
It was never like this on holidays with Jerry. They never ate in hotels, as he always wrote a list of recommended restaurants. He wrote daytime itineraries too and lined up interesting attractions for them to visit. He knew she needed structure, even though it didn’t come easily to her.
Sometimes they fell behind schedule because she took so long doing things; not that she spent hours applying lipstick or mascara, just an inordinate amount of time drifting between rooms, picking up a skirt here, a bottle of moisturiser there and setting them down elsewhere as if her brain had frozen.
Jerry never complained. He just seemed afraid to ask why she was that way.
Their honeymoon to the Isle of Man; Jerry always said, that was a good holiday – one of their best. Mary picks over the exact days of it in her mind. Actually, it wasn’t good. She recalls an argument about her clerical job and how he had suggested that she slow down to get ready.
‘Get ready for what?’ she had shrieked.
It was the first time she had raised her voice around him and she had felt her neck veins jut out like spines on rhubarb. He had looked at her baffled, yet she knew exactly what he was going to say next, just as she knew what her answer would be. That conversation had been scripted in her head years earlier, between her and whichever man took her on.
‘To have a baby of course,’ he had said.
Taken from The Unforgotten, Chapter 8.