Half Broken Things
Crime Writers’ Association Silver Dagger winner 2003
Jean, Michael and Steph are three reluctant loners who are getting by. Damaged and fearful of life, they cannot survive alone for much longer. A mixture of deceit, good luck and misfortune draw them together to Walden Manor, a secluded and gracious country house that promises sanctuary, freedom from failure and impending destitution. Out of an invented past they shape a beautiful present, full of hope and happiness. And beguiled by the gentle passing of time itself, all three of them, for the first time in their lives, lose their dread of the future. If their sense of safety is built on a delusion, does it matter? When the idyll is threatened, Jean, Michael and Steph discover that because their lives are now worth living they are also now worth preserving, although at appalling cost.
In this stunning novel, which explores what happens when the ‘have-nots’ strive to become the ‘haves’, Morag Joss combines thought-provoking, sometimes chilling moral complexity with humane and compelling story-telling. Half Broken Things is a dark story, richly told, about love and our need for it: the damage done when we go too long without it, and what people might be driven to do in its name.
‘…a work of fiction that sets its author on the path to greatness.' (The Times)
‘Winner of a prestigious Crime Writers' Association Silver Dagger, Half Broken Things is quite the most impressive novel yet from a writer whose work has combined total narrative command with a laser-like psychological penetration… The level of insight into the hidden recesses of the human mind is as assured here as in any "literary" novel, and such masters of this kind of narrative (in the non-crime field) as William Trevor are both evoked and matched in achievement.’
‘Sad, funny, original and wise.’
‘A mesmerizing psychological thriller that blurs the line between good and evil.’
‘Ravishing… Through the intimacy of her narrative voice and the depth and deftness of her characterizations, Joss directs the play-acting of this pseudo-family into deadly serious territory.’
(New York Times Book Review)