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Land of the Living

‘A masterly novel of grief and conflict … Audacious and moving… What it means to be civilised and behave with decency are questions raised throughout this fine novel’ Sunday Times

‘Land of the Living is a poised and carefully crafted novel of powerful, submerged emotions, taking an under-explored aspect of Britain’s war and ending in it something graceful and strange, mythic as well’ Allan Massie, Herald

‘Revelatory in many ways, shining a light on the darker aspects of war’ Nilanjana Roy, Financial Times

‘A landscape of arresting beauty and extreme violence …Vivid, illuminating and unbearably tense, this is a masterly meditation on trauma, on beauty, on the idea of home and on the limits of love’ Christobel Kent, Guardian

‘The quiet power of Georgina Harding’s novel lies in how she conveys with such bruising lyricism the way language fails…. Land of the Living is a moving testament to the battle that starts once the fighting has stopped’ The Times

‘Her Land of the Living is as wise and haunting as its predecessors’ Lucy Hughes-Hallett, New Statesman Books of the Year

The Gun Room

‘Georgina Harding’s novel is the finely tuned work of a writer exceptionally at ease with her craft and a testament to the power and poetry of clean and disciplined prose… The Gun Room focuses minutely on one man and in doing so it tells a deep history of the many men who, having seen war, struggle to be anything but soldiers’ Sadie Jones, Guardian

‘The narrative flits between past and present in an impressionistic manner; facts and character emerge slowly. The dreamlike quality is heightened by Harding’s sharply observed prose, conjuring up with great intensity the claggy English fields, Vietnam’s pockmarked delta and Tokyo’s ordered suburbs’ Sunday Telegraph

‘A captivating, superbly written novel about the impossibility of escaping from the past’ Mail on Sunday

‘A powerful novel about war and its aftermath in memory … The narrative attends to its people with delicacy and detail. Stubborn and painful memories are evoked in a nuanced understatement, and the frequent inarticulacy of the characters only intensifies the power of the prose. The writing is allusive without ever losing lucidity, and the whole is beautifully orchestrated. It is an excellent novel’ Abdulrazak Gurnah, Financial Times Summer Reading




The Solitude of Thomas Cave

The Spy Game

Painter of Silence

The Gun Room

Land of the Living


In Another Europe: A Journey to Romania Tranquebar: A Season in South India

Two definitions:

Mau Mau: possibly from Kikuyu; name for militant nationalist movement against British rule in Kenya. For the British of the 1950s, a word associated with terror and atrocity.

Mā mā: Japanese; an everyday word meaning so-so, OK, comme ci comme ça.


The lovely garden of Joséphine de Beauharnais


Seeing like Capa

Go-aan, you up there

How long? As long as it takes

Putting up the rooks



A Note on the Author

He sent her a photo in the spring, of daffodils and trees without leaves, and the house behind the trees. She couldn’t see much of the house in the photo, only a stretch of brick wall and a tiled roof, and two lines of windows reflecting sunshine. The point of the picture was the brilliant yellow of the daffodils in the foreground that was meant to tell her that, whatever England was, it was not always grey.

He was standing in the midst of the daffodils. Grinning and holding out his arms.

Come and see me, he wrote. Just that, in soft pencil, on the back of the photograph.

Already she had imagined the place he came from, from things that he had said before. When she got the photo she imagined it differently. When she finally went there it would be different again. Nothing, when you saw it, was quite as you imagined.

And people, she would think, wasn’t it like that with people? That they were not as you imagined, or even as you remembered them? Or so it seemed to her, after that summer. That people weren’t as you thought they were – or even, you weren’t quite who you thought you were yourself.

Once she was there of course she knew how it was, so she forgot, or almost forgot, all she had thought it would be before she came, from whatever he had said and whatever she had made out from the photo. Jonathan’s house was big, and old, and many people had lived in it. She was aware of that as she had never been aware of it anywhere else. She had a sense there of others in the past who had lived in those rooms, other women before her opening the doors, touching their fingers before hers to the rail of the stairs. Almost all of the people that she had known until that time lived in quite modern houses – except for her grandparents, and their house dated only from around the end of the Meiji era, so although it looked old it could be no more than eighty or ninety years, and her grandfather had been born there, so she thought that it was never lived in by any other family. Her grandparents’ house was nothing like so old as Jonathan’s. This house was hundreds of years old. It was bigger than any house that she had known, with passages and cupboards and an attic that nobody entered, spaces in it that were never touched, not like a Japanese house where you could reach to every corner. And they wore their shoes indoors. That was only a little thing, but it was the sort of thing that it took time for a Japanese to get used to. There was old dark furniture, a smell peculiar to the place that was both dust and polish, a still dry smell of indoors that told you how the people who lived in the house spent most of their days out of doors, out

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