Today, By David Miller

Into the hearts of sadness

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David Miller's debut novel is a tantalising and thoughtful imagining of the death of Joseph Conrad, as seen from within his family as well as from the point of view of an outsider: Lillian Hallowes, Conrad's secretary.

The shock of the death of a father permeates these pages, as Conrad's sons, John and Borys, attempt to take on the enormity of what his passing means. But what could have slipped into hysteria is tempered by a spare prose style and deliberate tempo. The period is also subtly evoked, not so much through physical detail as through the class difference that Lillian experiences in the context of the family, and a sense of what is "proper" that, in one explosive moment, she rejects.