Today

David Miller

Today

August 1924. John Conrad arrives at his parents' home on the outskirts of Canterbury, where family and friends are assembling for the bank holiday weekend. His crippled mother has been discharged from a nursing home, his brother drives down from London with wife and child. But as the guests converge, John's father dies. Today follows the numb implications of sudden death: the surprise, the shock, the deep fissures in a family exposed through grief. But there is also laughter, fraud and theft; the continuation of life, all viewed through the eyes of Lilian Hallowes - John's father's secretary - never quite at the centre of things but always observing, the still point in a turning world. 3.4 out of 5 based on 9 reviews
Today

Omniscore:

Classification Fiction
Genre General
Format Hardcover
Pages 176
RRP £12.99
Date of Publication March 2011
ISBN 978-1848876057
Publisher Atlantic Books
 

August 1924. John Conrad arrives at his parents' home on the outskirts of Canterbury, where family and friends are assembling for the bank holiday weekend. His crippled mother has been discharged from a nursing home, his brother drives down from London with wife and child. But as the guests converge, John's father dies. Today follows the numb implications of sudden death: the surprise, the shock, the deep fissures in a family exposed through grief. But there is also laughter, fraud and theft; the continuation of life, all viewed through the eyes of Lilian Hallowes - John's father's secretary - never quite at the centre of things but always observing, the still point in a turning world.

Reviews

The Financial Times

Adrian Turpin

...a psychologically convincing portrait of grief, one that – like much of Conrad’s own work – suggests the barrier between civilisation and the void is paper thin. An impressive debut distinguished by its spot-on period detail.

21/03/2011

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The Times

Kate Saunders

Curious and compelling.

05/03/2011

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The Times

Nick Rennison

This is a narrative that says much about death and mourning and the ambivalent feelings of the bereaved, but does so with great economy. Miller writes a pared and unadorned prose (enlivened by the occasional startling simile leaping from the page) that works its effects with the minimum of fuss.

27/02/2011

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The Guardian

Catherine Taylor

Miller's slim, quietly elegiac novel... is, despite elements of pastiche, compelling... Dialogue-heavy, the whole book has the deliberate artificiality of a three-act play...

26/03/2011

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The New Statesman

Leo Robson

David Miller, writing his first novel, gets off to a shaky start. He gives us three epigraphs to tell us what Today is about, then three pages of dramatis personae to tell us who it's about, but he shouldn't have gone to the trouble. Confidence in the evoking of mood and in staging the comings and goings of its large cast, and clarity in the dramatising of themes and the characterising of central players, are only the most prominent of this book's many qualities.

17/03/2011

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The Daily Telegraph

Anthony Cummins

Although the short narrative makes few concessions to readers who aren’t familiar with Conrad’s life, its unsensational account of bereavement deserves a wide audience.

28/03/2011

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The Observer

Mary Fitzgerald

Although hamstrung at first by an impossibly large cast of characters (Miller provides a lengthy dramatis personae at the beginning), once it gets going it is both a moving and surprisingly funny caricature of a quintessentially English family.

20/03/2011

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The Spectator

Matthew Dennison

If Today’s sense of period mostly fails to convince, the novel does succeed in repeatedly recalling aspects of early-20th-century English novel-writing... a slight novel, virtually a novella, and not without flaws, but it lingers in the memory, affecting and as redolent of time passed as spent pot pourri.

05/03/2011

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The Independent

William Palmer

This examination of family grief is overwhelmed by descriptions of trivial physical activity. There is far too much walking about and standing still, looking out of windows and staring down at carpets.

28/03/2011

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