The Pursuit of William Abbey
'MESMERIC, TERRIFYING AND WONDERFUL' M. R. Carey, author of The Girl With All the Gifts
From the award-winning and bestselling author of The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August and 84K comes a powerful new novel that examines how the choices we make can haunt us forever . . .
South Africa, 1884. William Abbey, an English doctor, watches white colonists lynch a Zul...more
This is ...more
So, points to the author for the clever story and the way it makes the reader think hard about what is going on all the time. Points too for the amazing amount of research which must have gone into all the ...more
I was very excited to have the opportunity to review this title from the moment it appeared on my radar.
Like an endless sea, this remarkable work of fiction does not cease to ever end in scope and engagement as one reads through the 400+ pages. Hopes, dreads, dreams, and desires of a lifetime of every facete imaginable will be touched on in this journey of The Pursuit of William Abbey. Not a country in the world, not a shore unexplored, no historical events within its premise missed, no ...more
But then it becomes fantastical in a way that I'm very familiar with when it comes to Claire North's writing. Slow and steady and exquisitely detailed always eventually becomes a huge rebellion/revolt/epic-tragedy. It's almost crazy to think that ...more
‘The Great War had been coming for such a long time. It was born in the hearts of our ruling men the day they were held up in the crib and told they were blessed with a greatness that others could not share. It was nurtured when they saw their greatness challenged, and sought some way to prove their strength. Now it eats us whole.’
The Pursuit of William Abbey is a powerful historical fiction and also part fantasy novel by the award winning author, Claire North. As I’ve never read any b ...more
(An attenuated review, due to my loss of all my notes, sorry)
Another extraordinary book, and Ms North proves again to be a genre unto herself, unlike any other. Truly wonderful.
As usual with my reviews, please first read the publisher’s blurb/summary of the book. Thank you.
Claire North (Catharine Webb)
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William Abbey is a man almost without courage or purpose in life, just a loser cursed to live often in terror, and to often be a tool of the "great and good".
Like so many of North's books, The Pursuit of William Abbey is a love it or hate it book. Typical of North the writing is extremely dense, almost entirely narrative and with very little dialogue. At times it verges on stream of consciousness without actually tipping over, which lends a certain realistic quality to the idea that you are being told a complicated story extemporaneously by the person to whom it happened.
I thought the idea presented, that truth is indivi ...more
Claire North's ideas continue to impress me. William Abbey is cursed - a shadow spirit's presence follows him around the world. When close, it gives him the power to see the truth of men’s hearts. When it catches him, it will kill those he loves.
Abbey spends most of his life running away from the shadow, working as a spy (government sees a perfect tool in him and his unique skills), becoming a traitor, falling in impossible and dangerous love. His story doesn't lack suspense but it's dense ...more
William Abbey in Africa, did not save a child from the mob. The child died and the mother cursed him that the shadow of her child would pursue him throughout his life. If the shadow caught William, someone close to him would die. And William needed to be on the move in any mode of transportation. The shadow would come after him at a steady rate. And William in essence became the Tr ...more
“I know the truth of men’s hearts, and what I know is that they are right, every single one of them. They live within the power of their own rightness, and anyone who disagrees with them can only be wrong, and being wrong, they are therefore less. That is what I know, and it terrifies me.”
The Pursuit of William Abbey is the sixth stand-alone novel by award-winning British author, Claire North. Banished to South Africa by his wealthy father, Dr William Abbey is (poorly) practicing medicine i ...more
In 1917, France, against the backdrop of the Great War. In a French hospital for wounded soldiers with cannon and gunfire reverberating outside and enemy forces closing in Dr William Abbey, over a few nights and with Langa, his shadow ever approaching and drawing nearer recounts his story to Sister Ellis.
Abbey’s story starts in South Africa, Natal, 1884, in a small and dusty frontie ...more
Not sure if I was in the wrong mood or not or if my actual relationship with Claire North is either a love or hate one. Because all my reviews and ratings for her books has been everywhere between 2 and 5 stars. Or if I need to stop expecting another Harry August mind-blow.
But compared to North's other books, this one is one of the more one-linear books, meaning that it doesn't jump around the time line, as her previous works are known to do. Which I appreciate a lot because my brain d ...more
Claire North’s newest offering is part ghost story, part spy novel, part...speculative historical fiction, I suppose. Which should be an oxymoronic description, but somehow it fits here.
I liked the idea of it, certainly, and in its more active moments, the story is propulsive. And yet I found myself struggling to care about the characters or the outcome and indifferent to the atmosphere.
The rela ...more
I very much enjoyed this author’s first book, The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August, so I was really looking forward to reading this one. What a disappointment! It was far too long and repetitive. It could easily have been 100 pages shorter with no loss to the narrative. I found myself skipping large sections just to get it finished and move on to something else.
I’m convinced: it’s literally impossible for Claire North to write a bad book. I think she’s just genuinely incapable of anything less than excellence. When she writes a sentence, it just comes out good. Every single time. Of this I am certain. Alternatively, there’s the much more mundane and likely scenario: she’s very, very good at proofing, has a wo ...more
Claire North's books are always extremely intriguing. The premise sucks you in and the writing is spectacular, both introspective and intelligent. Although the premises of the previous books I have read by the author have been more complex than this was one, I was more confused by the events in the Pursuit of William Abbey than any others.
William Abbey is a doctor in the 19th century and in Africa, he evidences a horrendously cruel event of white men burning a black boy alive, and he d ...more
The child’s mother, after seeing her sons last breath curses William, the child’s shadow will follow him for the rest of his life…..if it catches up to him, someone he loves will die.
William starts travelling to keep ahead of the shadow, he can also hear people’s inner truthful thoughts and has no choice but to then speak them out loud. He’s now a truth-teller and as a result various ...more
The pacing is methodical. We hear the story of Wil ...more
Claire North is a pseudonym for adult fantasy books written by Catherine Webb, who also writes under the pseudonym Kate Griffin. ...more