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  • Sceptre
  • Sceptre

The Optimists

Andrew Miller

20 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

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

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

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

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

  • 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

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

  • A delight to read ... [Miller] incites thought without dictating it, and conjures emotion without prescribing it ... THE OPTIMISTS is a novel of great intelligence and understanding, populated by characters who are recognisable yet exceptional. - Alex Heminsley, Time Out

  • A profound novel, meditative, not conclusive, offering no simplistic answers to what Miller calls 'the vertigo of self-knowledge'. 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

  • One of our most skilful chroniclers of the human heart and mind - Caroline Gascoigne, The Sunday Times

  • Miller is a writer of such astonishing prose that wherever he takes his characters they speak a rare emotional truth. - Julie Wheelwright, Scotland on Sunday

  • Praise for OXYGEN:

  • A writer of very rare and outstanding gifts - Elspeth Barker, Independent on Sunday

  • His writing is vivid, precise and constantly surprising. It reads easily, suspends life until it is read and is a source of wonder and delight - Hilary Mantel, Sunday Times

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

  • Exceptional - Sunday Times

  • [A] delicate, compassionate tale - Metro

  • The writing is clear, precise, feelingly observant . . . Miller is a fine writer. - Spectator

  • Praise for CASANOVA:

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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 was followed by Casanova, then Oxygen, which was shortlisted for both the Booker Prize and the Whitbread Novel of the Year Award in 2001, The Optimists, and One Morning Like A Bird. In 2011, his sixth novel, Pure, was published to great acclaim and went on to win the Costa Book of the Year Award.

Andrew Miller's novels have been translated into thirty languages. Born in Bristol in 1960, he has lived in Spain, Japan, France and Ireland, and currently lives in Somerset.