The Garish Day

The Garish Day

(1986) Penguin

‘Marvellously readable novel. A real treat.’

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‘The Garish Day’ covers forty years of Henry’s life, from his birth in India where his father is part of the Imperial presence, through his own rise in the British Diplomatic Service. It is a study of a certain kind of English male who is probably fast on the way to becoming obsolete. Rich, clever and handsome, Henry suffers from a fatal inability to reach his own emotions. The result is described rather well in the blurb: ‘Drinking, clinging desperately to the idea of God, Henry inexplicably rejects his brilliant career and drifts aimlessly in an uneasy modern world.’ The novel is also filled with humour, not all of it poker-faced. I’m still proud of the final set-piece at Henry’s mother’s funeral.