Mr Chartwell

Rebecca Hunt

Mr Chartwell

July, 1964. In bed at home in Kent, Winston Churchill is waking up. There’s a visitor in the room, someone he hasn’t seen for a while, a dark, mute bulk, watching him with tortured concentration. It’s Mr Chartwell. In her terraced house in Battersea, Esther Hammerhans, young, vulnerable and alone, goes to answer the door to her new lodger. Through the glass she sees a vast silhouette the size of a mattress. It's Mr Chartwell. He is charismatic and dangerously seductive, and Esther and Winston Churchill are drawn together by his dark influence. But can they withstand Mr Chartwell’s strange, powerful charms and strong hold? Can they even explain to anyone who or what he is? Or why he has come to visit? For Mr Chartwell is a huge, black dog. In this original novel, Rebecca Hunt explores how two unlikely lives collide as Mr Chartwell's motives are revealed to be far darker and deeper than they seem. 3.0 out of 5 based on 10 reviews
Mr Chartwell

Omniscore:

Classification Fiction
Genre General Fiction
Format Hardback
Pages 224
RRP £12.99
Date of Publication October 2010
ISBN 978-1905490691
Publisher Fig Tree
 

July, 1964. In bed at home in Kent, Winston Churchill is waking up. There’s a visitor in the room, someone he hasn’t seen for a while, a dark, mute bulk, watching him with tortured concentration. It’s Mr Chartwell. In her terraced house in Battersea, Esther Hammerhans, young, vulnerable and alone, goes to answer the door to her new lodger. Through the glass she sees a vast silhouette the size of a mattress. It's Mr Chartwell. He is charismatic and dangerously seductive, and Esther and Winston Churchill are drawn together by his dark influence. But can they withstand Mr Chartwell’s strange, powerful charms and strong hold? Can they even explain to anyone who or what he is? Or why he has come to visit? For Mr Chartwell is a huge, black dog. In this original novel, Rebecca Hunt explores how two unlikely lives collide as Mr Chartwell's motives are revealed to be far darker and deeper than they seem.

Reviews

The Daily Express

Diana Riley

...a powerful evocation of depression... Hunt's novel is brilliantly original and thought-provoking without seemingly to try too hard (sic). She tackles a serious topic with humour and intelligence and marks herself out as one to watch.

03/10/2010

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The Daily Mail

Carla McKay

In this marvellously original, tender and funny debut novel - much fought over at auction - about depression (a word never used), Rebecca Hunt proves herself to be a gifted writer who has no need of fictional realism to deliver profound truths.

01/10/2010

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The Scotsman

Lesley McDowell

...a real joy to read: funny, clever and original... Hunt's prose style favours carefully wrought expressions that can seem a little over-worked in places, but it mostly pays off. Her comic sense comes from wonderful women writers like Dodie Smith, but she avoids slipping into pastiche, to give us a darkly comic debut that hits all the right notes.

03/10/2010

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The Independent

Peter Carty

Hunt nimbly avoids the whimsy invited by her magical realist conceit. Instead she brings to bear a fine artist's lateral sensibility (she's a painter as well as a writer) to deliver a quirkily inspired hypostatisation of Churchill's inner demon.

22/10/2010

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The Independent on Sunday

Rachel Hore

It's all charmingly and simply told, if sometimes too much so and at too much of an amble. However, don't be fooled into thinking the whimsy and charm render the material inconsequential.

17/10/2010

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The Financial Times

Carl Wilkinson

Hunt’s literal take on the metaphorical black dog provides an attention-grabbing and at times humorous approach to the novel’s central theme of depression. Although in places a touch romcom – Esther’s pal Beth is a Richard Curtis-esque cipher – Mr Chartwell is a rewarding and entertaining debut.

18/10/2010

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The Guardian

Clare Clark

Mr Chartwell is undoubtedly flawed but it is also bold, original and frequently very funny. I can't wait to see what Hunt comes up with next.

23/10/2010

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The Daily Telegraph

Anthony Cummins

[A] quirky first novel... Although there are nagging doubts about whether or not Hunt’s admittedly striking narrative conceit can match the weight of her themes, the required response may be a simple, uncomplaining surrender to the prevailing eccentricity.

24/09/2010

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The Observer

Mary Fitzgerald

The plot twists are predictable; Churchill is resurrected from the historical record with accuracy but little creative flair; and the other characters lack complexity... Neither does the prose, lacking in verve or innovation, match up to the ambition of this attention-grabbing idea. In short, it's a great opportunity missed.

31/10/2010

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The Sunday Times

Lucy Scholes

Although Hunt weaves together historical detail and elements of magical realism, her writing is not accomplished enough to convince the reader of either. She relies on heavily stressed and rather clichéd metaphors ... marking this as a novel of only limited imagination and skill.

03/10/2010

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