We talked to Tim Clare about his longlisted novel, The Honours.
1935. Norfolk. War is looming in Great Britain and the sprawling country estate of Alderberen Hall is shadowed by suspicion and paranoia. Its newest resident, Miss Delphine Venner, is determined to uncover the secrets of the Hall’s elite society, which has taken in her gullible mother and unstable father. As she explores the house and discovers the secret network of hidden passages that thread through the estate, Delphine uncovers a world more dark and threatening than she ever could have imagined. With the help of head gamekeeper Mr Garforth, Delphine must learn the bloody lessons of war and find the soldier within herself in time to battle the deadly forces amassing in the woods…
The Desmond Elliott Prize judges said: ‘Tim Clare’s prose ripples with muscular lyricism, his pages brimming over with erudite invention right down to their footnotes: capable of taking us into flight with diabolic Vespera or toe-to-toe with the enemy at the gate. An endlessly entertaining tour of a fantastic mindscape, ablaze with imagery and blessed with poetry.’
Describe your book in one sentence
The Honours is a book about guns and monsters.
How does it feel to be longlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize?
It’s very nice! I’m so pleased the sifters enjoyed it
What is your favourite debut novel?
Oh gosh. So many options! I mean, Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell is pretty amazing, isn’t it? Just wonderful in so many ways. A stunning mic drop.
What’s the book you are recommending right now?
I recommend so many books. I’m an awful irritating Amazon algorithm of a book-pusher. But my latest crush is When Prophecy Fails, the true story of a bunch of sociologists infiltrating an apocalyptic UFO cult and watching what happened when the prophesied end of the world failed to arrive. It’s funny and sad and an important lesson on how painful it is for humans to change their beliefs.