The Snowing and Greening of Thomas Passmore, By Paul Burman

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The Independent Culture

Thomas Passmore, a man in his late thirties, arrives jetlagged from Australia to visit his sick mother and track down and lay some of the ghosts of his past. He's married with three young children but still dreams about a girlfriend from his teens called Kate, and wrestles with memories of his dead father, who killed himself, and his childhood friend Gazza, who died joyriding a stolen car. As the novel progresses, Thomas's jetlag develops into a stranger kind of sleepiness, his consciousness ruptured by periods of remembering and forgetting that become increasingly more dreamlike.

A book about a man whose incapacity to deal with loss haunts his relationships, someone who sets so much store by history that he forgets what he has to do to live happily in the present, Burman's first novel reveals an inventive, passionate and insightful writer – but one perhaps caught between the pressures of delivering the kind of imaginative novel he wanted to write and the one his publishers felt they could sell. The finished draft would have benefited from being less polished, and the ending feels far too much like a conscious effort to make sense of what went before it.

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