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  • Sceptre
  • Sceptre

Fiction, Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945), Historical fiction

WINNER OF THE COSTA BOOK OF THE YEAR AWARD (2011)

A year of bones, of grave-dirt, relentless work. Of mummified corpses and chanting priests.

A year of rape, suicide, sudden death. Of friendship too. Of desire. Of love...

A year unlike any other he has lived.

Deep in the heart of Paris, its oldest cemetery is, by 1785, overflowing, tainting the very breath of those who live nearby. Into their midst comes Jean-Baptiste Baratte, a young, provincial engineer charged by the king with demolishing it.

At first Baratte sees this as a chance to clear the burden of history, a fitting task for a modern man of reason. But before long, he begins to suspect that the destruction of the cemetery might be a prelude to his own.

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Praise for Pure

  • * The 2011 Costa Book of the Year * - .

  • Every so often a historical novel comes along that is so natural, so far from pastiche, so modern, that it thrills and expands the mind. PURE is one . . . Miller's newly minted sentences are arresting, often unsettling and always thought-provoking. Exquisite inside and out, PURE is a near-faultless thing: detailed, symbolic and richly evocative of a time, place and man in dangerous flux. It is brilliance distilled, with very few impurities. - Holly Kyte, Telegraph

  • One of the most brilliant aspects of Miller's writing is his ability to question unobtrusively, through style alone, sentimentality about both life under the Bourbons and the creative destruction of revolution . . . he has an instinctive knack for casting bright similes, never overextended, that ripple suggestively . . . The writing throughout is crystalline, uncontrived, striking and intelligent. You could call it pure. - Jonathan Beckman, Literary Review

  • Quietly powerful, consistently surprising, PURE is a fine addition to substantial body of work . . . pre-revolutionary Paris is evoked in pungent detail . . . By concentrating on the bit players and byways of history, Miller conjures up an eerily tangible vanished world. - Suzi Feay, Financial Times

  • Murder, rape, seduction and madness impel this elegant novel . . . Within this physical and political decay, Miller couches the heart of the matter: how to live one's life with personal integrity, with a purity not so much morally unblemished as unalloyed with the fads and opinions of society . . . Miller populates Baratte's quest for equanimity with lush and tart characters, seductively fleshed out, who collectively help to deliver the bittersweet resolution of his professional and personal travails. - James Urquhart, Independent

  • Very atmospheric... Although the theme may sound macabre, Miller's eloquent novel overflows with vitality and colour. It is packed with personal and physical details that evoke 18th-century Paris with startling immediacy. Above all he brings off that difficult trick of making the reader care about an unsymapthetic character. If you enjoyed Patrick Suskind's Perfume, you'll love this. - Daily Express

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Andrew Miller

Andrew Miller's first novel, Ingenious Pain, was published by Sceptre in 1997 and greeted as the debut of an outstanding new writer. It won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and the Grinzane Cavour Prize for the best foreign novel published in Italy.

It has been followed by Casanova, Oxygen, which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and the Whitbread Novel of the Year Award in 2001, The Optimists, One Morning Like A Bird, Pure, which won the Costa Book of the Year Award 2011, and The Crossing.

Andrew Miller's novels have been published in translation in twenty countries. Born in Bristol in 1960, he currently lives in Somerset.

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