An exceptionally mature and tautly written first novel reminiscent of Josephine Hart’s ‘Damage’.
Haunted by childhood loss, 23-year-old Louise takes on her late mother’s name and sets out to find Nicholas, the man she has always held responsible for her mother’s death. Now a middle-aged lecturer, husband and father, Nicholas has nevertheless been unable to shake off the events of his past, when he and Louise’s mother, Lydia, had a clandestine, destructive and ultimately tragic affair. As Louise infiltrates his life and the lives of his family, she forms close and intimate relationships with both his son and his wife, but her true identity remains unknown to Nicholas himself. Tensions grow and outward appearances begin to crack, as Louise and Nicholas both discover painful truths about their own lives, each other and the woman they both loved.
Reviews of The Art of Losing
- ‘Connell gets under the skin with this part thriller, part heartfelt examination of betrayal and grief.’ Catherine Taylor, Guardian
- ‘A first novelist who stakes out a compact patch and cultivates it with style hints at greater promise than one who aims higher, but goes messily astray. Connell switches between aggrieved Louise’s voice and that of the seducer, Nicholas. This counterpoint adds perspective and sharpens a finely-crafted mood of curdled sensuality and gathering menace. The truth, of course, is not quite what it seems.’ Boyd Tonkin, Independent
- ‘This confident debut is both a thriller and an emotional portrait of the long-term repercussions of infidelity.’ Melissa McClements, Financial Times
- ‘“The Art of Losing” is a taut, convincing exploration of the pressures of love and the price of infidelity, and like the passion it so vividly describes it grips from the first and refuses to let go. For sheer readability, Rebecca Connell’s debut novel takes some beating.’ Rupert Thomson
- ‘This assured psychodrama by a young South London writer is brimming with entertaining thrills … In a book as menacaing as any crime novel, Rebecca Connell spins a complex tale of domestic betrayal.’ Emma Hagestadt, Independent