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  • Sceptre
  • Sceptre

The Optimists

Andrew Miller

8 Reviews

Rated 0

Fiction, Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)

The timely, exceptionally powerful new novel from the Booker-shortlisted author of OXYGEN.

In a world where people slaughter the innocent without mercy or retribution, how can we have faith in humanity, or the future?

Clem Glass, a photojournalist, returns from Africa to London convinced he knows the answer - mankind is fundamentally wicked and there is no hope for us. Yet when his sister falls ill and he takes her back to the West Country of their childhood, he cannot ignore the decency, joys and small kindnesses of those around him, or the pulse of goodness in his own heart. Until news comes that offers Clem the chance to confront the author of his nightmares.

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Praise for The Optimists

  • This novel represents a shocking, moving but ultimately hopeful vision of the best and worst of humanity. - Daily Express

  • In Clem Glass, Miller has created neither a victim nor a victor but a man driven by his own innate decency, a character in whom we can believe, a person about whom we care and that is what great writing is about. - Irish Times

  • Exceptional - Sunday Times

  • A profound novel, meditative, not conclusive . . . Yet despite the absence of an easy happy ending, it leaves the reader with a feeling of courage and, in the face of so much evidence to the contrary, hope. - Observer

  • The writing is clear, precise, feelingly observant - Spectator

  • A delight to read . . . a novel of great intelligence and understanding, populated by characters who are recognisable yet exceptional. - Time Out

  • A powerful and lively book, seriously engaged and cathartic . . . gently, almost imperceptibly, impelled by the nourishment of love. - Financial Times

  • The uncluttered narrative and the slow, quiet accumulation of everyday detail imbues this novel with a quiet grace - Daily Mail

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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 both 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 has lived in Spain, Japan, France and Ireland, and currently lives in Somerset.