'A wonderfully observed novel which provides a rare outsider's glimpse of the quiet despair that lurks behind those bright, perfectly-formed American smiles' Literary Review
Dan Silas returns to America for his high school reunion where he makes some unexpected discoveries. His former girlfriend tells him that her daughter was his child and Dan's oldest friend has suffered a breakdown and now believes himself to be the reincarnation of an Indian chief. In an attempt to make sense of these disturbing facts, Dan digs further into their lives, with both tragic and comic results.
LEADING THE CHEERS is a rich portrayal of small-town life with wonderfully evoked characters and
Justin Cartwright's beautifully observed writing.
A vividly exceptional performance, both for the poetry of its descriptions and the largeness of its themes. It is an off-kilter study of America, from Jefferson to serial killers, and a meditation on the way people cope with death and the lack of meaning in life - Sunday Times
This excellent new novel .... sharply written episodes abound - Mail on Sunday
Such a complex and rewarding novel is only what you would expect from such a talented and original writer - Evening Standard
A book which is itself individual; eloquent, tender, as well as sharply observant and funny - Sunday Telegraph
Born in South Africa, Justin Cartwright lived in Britain after studying at Trinity College, Oxford. He worked in advertising and directed documentaries, films and television commercials, and wrote seventeen novels. They include the Booker-shortlisted In Every Face I Meet, the Whitbread Novel Award-winner Leaping the Cheers, the acclaimed White Lightning, shortlisted for the 2002 Whitbread Novel Award, The Promise of Happiness, winner of the 2005 Hawthornden Prize, The Song Before It Is Sung, To Heaven By Water, Other People's Money, Lion Heart and Up Against the Night. His novel Look At It This Way was made into a three-part drama by the BBC in 1992, and he also published three works of non-fiction. He died in December 2018.