The dazzling new novel by the Man Booker-nominated, Granta Best of Young British novelist, Ned Beauman.
In 1938, two rival expeditions set off for a lost Mayan temple in the jungles of Honduras, one intending to shoot a screwball comedy on location there, the other intending to disassemble it and ship it back to New York. A seemingly endless stalemate ensues, and twenty years later, when a rogue CIA agent learns that both expeditions are still out in the wilderness, he embarks on a mission to exploit the temple as a geopolitical pawn. But the mission hurtles towards disaster when he discovers that the temple is the locus of grander conspiracies than anyone could have guessed.
Dazzling . . . his best to date . . . If there is one adjective that describes Beauman's prose it is 'buoyant' - a quality which allows the reader to get through a long book with little effort, and the author to carry the considerable heft of his intelligence lightly. And it is a roaming intelligence. - Spectator
Madness is Better than Defeat is a Swiss watch: there isn't a single moving part out of place . . . The jokes are superb . . . a zestful romp? Undoubtedly. But that doesn't quite do justice to the experience of reading Madness is Better than Defeat. The book is certainly a literary performance of a high order . . . The clockwork runs beautifully. Every paragraph gives pleasure. - Literary Review
Almost perfect . . . This is one of the most purely enjoyable novels I've read in years - by turns sad, moving, thoughtful, intriguing, clever, enlightening, surprising and laugh-out-loud funny - which is more than enough. I can't think of any type of reader who wouldn't enjoy it: whether your thing is genre, literary or, like this, a fizzling, sparking, sparkling mixture of the two. - Irish Independent
A teaming shaggy-dog comedy of megalomania and obsession . . . Beauman is a sparkling writer, and his book bustles with diverting micro-narratives . . . A novel of great intelligence and humour, cleverly structured and brimming with tricks . . . a tremendous rainbow - New Statesman
Beauman has a gift: he's a natural comic writer. (I've only read one funnier book this year) - Guardian
It reminded me of a Coen brothers film . . . I found it enchanting, and I was happy to turn every page . . . I really enjoyed it - BBC Radio 4 Saturday Review
I am really enjoying it . . . I have no clue what's going to happen when I turn the page - BBC Radio 4 Saturday Review
Beauman's fourth novel provides his usual humour, oddities, convolutions and impressive writing. - Mail on Sunday
Ned Beauman was born in 1985 and lives in London. He has written for Dazed & Confused, AnOther and the Guardian. His debut novel, BOXER, BEETLE was shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award and the Desmond Elliot Prize, and won the Writers' Guild Award for Best Fiction Book. Ned Beauman was picked by The Culture Show as one of the 12 Best New British Writers in 2011. His second novel, THE TELEPORTATION ACCIDENT was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2012.