The Auctioneer

Charles Fernyhough

This literary debut is the story of a young man’s twin obsessions – adoration for a girl met on a trip to Australia seven years earlier, and grief over the death of his mother when he was a child. Structured around an auction catalogue, using objects as the springboard for each chapter, it’s both a psychological thriller and an unusual love story.

In a Victorian silk mill in the Peak District, auction-handler Finn Causley is writing a catalogue of significant things. Outside, society is falling victim to a mysterious brain disorder characterised by euphoric forgetfulness; inside Finn’s job is to sell off the things left behind: objects that once had human meaning but now lie forgotten, the remnants of lives gone awry. In an edgily powerful narrative, structured around the objects he is cataloguing – objects that will ultimately prove to be keys to the truth, the self-deceiving auctioneer is forced to uncover bitter truths about the past and about himself. The Auctioneer is a novel of obsession and betrayal. Written with a deep historical feeling for the English landscape and a highly contemporary sense of irony, this is a love story at once utterly modern and as old as time.

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