I first came across Rupert Thomson many years ago when I brought book called ‘30 under 35’, which purported to contain the best 30 young writers in Britain. He was among them and on the strength of this I brought his first novel ‘Dreams of leaving’ encouraged further by the knowledge that he like me, was a copywriter at an ad agency.
Then for whatever reason, I forgot all about him. Now he’s right back on my radar with his book ‘Katherine Carlyle’ which is one of my favorite novels of the last five years.
It features a young teenage girl, Katherine Carlyle, who is created by IVF. The procedure ends up giving her mother cancer leaving Katherine Carlyle alone with her distant and absent father.
On hearing a couple in a cinema talking about a friend in Berlin, she suddenly decides leaves her Rome home and go to find this stranger.
It’s the beginning of a journey takes her to the remotest parts of Russia via Croatian Mafia men and eccentric American millionaires.
Yet it’s a journey that goes inwards and backwards as much as it moves outward, as each destination brings her closer to the that frozen embryo that marked the beginning or her life.
Strange and wholly original, it is beautifully written enquiry into life and how it is most honestly spent.