The Great Night

Chris Adrian

The Great Night

On Midsummer's Eve, 2008, three people, each on the run from a failed relationship, are trapped in San Francisco's Buena Vista Park on their way to a party. And on this night, something unusual and awful is happening in the faerie kingdom. In a fit of sadness over the end of her marriage, which broke up over the death of her adopted son, Titania has set loose an ancient menace, and the chaos and mischief that ensue upends and threatens the lives of mortals as well as the immortals. 3.6 out of 5 based on 9 reviews
The Great Night

Omniscore:

Classification Fiction
Genre General Fiction
Format Hardcover
Pages 304
RRP £16.99
Date of Publication June 2011
ISBN 978-1847081865
Publisher Granta
 

On Midsummer's Eve, 2008, three people, each on the run from a failed relationship, are trapped in San Francisco's Buena Vista Park on their way to a party. And on this night, something unusual and awful is happening in the faerie kingdom. In a fit of sadness over the end of her marriage, which broke up over the death of her adopted son, Titania has set loose an ancient menace, and the chaos and mischief that ensue upends and threatens the lives of mortals as well as the immortals.

Reviews

The Observer

Olivia Laing

That such a deep compassion exists hand in hand with linguistic playfulness and structural dexterity is as disarming as it is beguiling. Though this isn't precisely a comedy, Adrian takes his cues from Shakespeare in providing plenty of rough larks, largely of a sexual sort ... Indeed, one wonders whether he took Bottom the Weaver's final admonishment – "Rehearse most obscenely and courageously. Take pains; be perfect" – to heart, for this magical and fearless work is a near-blueprint of what a novel ought to be.

19/06/2011

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The Daily Telegraph

Adam O’Riordan

Many strange and unexpected things occur over the course of the story, and The Great Night succeeds as a work of sustained imagination. Interweaving stories and situations that are in turn kitsch, camp, wry and heartbreaking, Adrian balances seemingly incongruous elements to form a profoundly humane and moving work.

22/06/2011

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The Washington Post

Keith Donohue

That dissonance with the original undermines Adrian’s considerable powers. Moments of comedy — from slapstick to farce — exist in the novel, but they are mixed with graphic violence and anonymous sex. Rather than ending upon a dream, The Great Night aches with lost love and the torturous ordeal of childhood caught between innocence and awakening. For a novel based upon a classic comedy, it’s devastating.

10/05/2011

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The Financial Times

Daniel Swift

This wonderful novel is much more than a simple adaptation. Adrian emphasises some parts of the play – he makes Puck, for example, far more sinister than Shakespeare wrote him – and draws out one particular strand that is just beneath Shakespeare’s version. In Adrian’s hands this is a play about grief.

10/06/2011

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The Guardian

Patrick Ness

This all may sound like unbearable whimsy, but Adrian is such a forceful, potent writer that this non-realistic world commands its own searing, tangible realism on the page. For this isn't only a novel about magic and faeries, it's a novel about grief and loss and heartbreak ... The Shakespearean references are worn lightly, and the plotting is so skilful you barely notice it falling into place. The characterisations are rich, too.

02/06/2011

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The Independent on Sunday

Jake Wallis Simons

... a beguiling, troubling and undeniably potent brand of fiction ... His writing is evocative and unsettling in equal measure, yet this seems to be more about the author exploring his own feelings about child mortality than creating anything truly new from the materials of one of the Bard's most popular plays.

29/05/2011

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The New York Times

Laura Miller

Partisans of realism sometimes think that because fabulous narratives don’t abide by the laws of reality, they jettison all rules. To the contrary: The logic of the fairy tale is often as merciless as a steel trap. Ultimately, however, the magical math of “The Great Night” just doesn’t add up. When Adrian’s engaging mortal characters are dragooned into the violent final face-off between Titania and Puck, it’s unclear what the two narratives, human and fairy, have to say to each other.

06/05/2011

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The Literary Review

Anthony Cummins

... striking ultimately cloying ... Sonorous chains of nouns are a mainstay of the dense, lightly punctuated prose.

06/11/2011

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The Sunday Times

Stephen Amidon

While the idea of relocating Shakespeare’s most fey comedy to modern San Francisco is not without its appeal, Adrian never exercises enough control over his material to make the novel work ... Adrian strives unsuccessfully to match his story to his source. The result is the sort of shambles that might have been produced by Bottom himself.

17/07/2011

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