Linda Grant

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The Dark Circle

Shortlisted for the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction 2017
book | Fiction | Nov 2016
UK → Virago Press (Ed. Lenning Goodings)

The Second World War is over, a new decade is beginning but for an East End teenage brother and sister living on the edge of the law, life has been suspended. Sent away to a tuberculosis sanatorium in Kent to learn the way of the patient, they find themselves in the company of army and air force officers, a car salesman, a young university graduate, a mysterious German woman, a member of the aristocracy and an American merchant seaman. They discover that a cure is tantalisingly just out of reach and only by inciting wholesale rebellion can freedom be snatched.


Kate Cooper manages the translation rights for The Dark Circle

Translation Rights Sold

Hep Kitap

The Dark Circle is, beneath its narrative surface, fiercely political. She poses a large, naggingly relevant, question. What would (will?) privatisation of the NHS mean? Read this fine, persuasive, moving novel and contemplate — if you can dare to — that awful possibility.

John Sutherland
The Times

Thoroughly researched, with an emphasis on authentic historical detail.

Sunday Times

A revealing insight… Both funny and illuminating, it is a novel about what it means to treat people well, medically, emotionally and politically.

Hannah Beckerman

[Grant] is so good at conjuring up atmosphere and writes with earthy vivacity.

Anthony Gardner
Mail on Sunday

An immensely enjoyable and beautifully written book, filled with humour and pathos.

Ian Critchley
Literary Review

[The Dark Circle] is funny but also poignant... I loved it.

Glenda Marchant

No book by Linda Grant is without its classic moments of wry humour and The Dark Circle is absolutely no exception.

Dove Grey Reader

A great novel… The real triumph of The Dark Circle is how Grant nudges the reader to draw parallels to society today.

The Writes of Women

With its many contemporary parallels, The Dark Circle is a strong piece of social commentary, but Grant’s characters have an emotional depth which makes them more than archetypes... [A] powerful document of a generation stifled by austerity, and finding a strategy to fight back.

Book Munch

Rich in texture and illuminating.

The Book Bag

A Grant novel is always a treat - packed with "I wish I had said that" observations... Grant meticulously conveys the horrors of [and] and captures the stigma that surrounded TB perfectly. When Lenny’s girlfriend Gina arrives to see him she is horrified to find him “a grandpa not a boy”. Grant also describes the misery of a scrofulous death — “coughing, wasting, haemorrhaging — and the smell”. With the rise of multi-drug-resistant TB, the white plague hasn’t quite left us. The Dark Circle shows us why it was once so feared.

Rosamund Urwin
Evening Standard

The descriptions of the atmosphere, the sense of sickness and timelessness and despair, the half-hearted attempts at camaraderie, the horrible medical procedures, the way everyone coughed and spat into handkerchiefs and had to take their own temperatures are exactly right... [I] doubt if we will read a more distinctive work of fiction for many months, or a writer whose language crackles with vitality and whose descriptive powers are working at such a high level.

Susan Hill

Exhilaratingly good... Grant is pervasively intelligent, but she does not intellectualise: there is a marvellous supple instinctiveness to her physical descriptions that brings with it a startling depth of emotion. She can convey a dying man’s despair through a glimpse of his wife’s pearl earrings against her neck, the grey inevitability of death thrown into sharp relief by the rude vigour of life... Grant brings the 1950s – that odd, downbeat, fertile decade between war and sexual liberation – into sharp, bright, heartbreaking focus.

Christobel Kent

Linda Grant brings a forgotten slice of social and medical history to life by conjuring a rich cast of disparate — though equally desperate — characters observed with wry humour and affection to produce an absorbing and profoundly moving story.

John Harding
Daily Mail