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Loss by David Harsent

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The city never sleeps. Silence would weaken it.
When all else fails it talks to itself seamless thrum of
machinery dark undertone.

It is 00:00 and the full of the night yet to come.


A man sits at a window through the dead hours of night, his sleep broken by troubling dreams of a figure in a white landscape. This fragmentary vigil anchors a series of narrative sections in which a dramatic voice – which might well be an interior monologue – gives, first, an account of the man, then addresses him directly. We learn of a conflicted childhood, of love lost to circumstance, of the press of death on the protagonist’s waking thoughts. He is a man afflicted by personal loss, but also a man of his time, all too aware of the troubled world in which he lives.

In this powerful sequence, David Harsent’s breathtaking formal skills are always in evidence. Intense, lyrical and passionate, Loss makes for enthralling reading.


‘A master of the human drama.’ John Burnside

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