Chris Stewart, best-selling author of ‘Driving over Lemons,' "an exquisitely crafted novella" -
The main protagonist comes on stage immediately in the opening lines... Ana Anderssen, Professor of History of Art at Birkbeck, University of London.
The tug-of-war continues in France, at Champigny-sur-Veude, a village in Indre-et-Loire, some fifty kilometres from Tours, the setting for the dramatic arrival of chain-smoking Ana, Gilles' guest at the family chateau in order to do research on Chaïm Soutine who was given refuge in the area during WW2. For lovers of France, this rural setting in the 1960s is a dream, with a Citroen DS, Camel cigarettes, ashtrays with the Ricard motif.
Alan Halliday is a brilliant raconteur who skilfully interweaves fact and fiction in a very Proustian manner, espionage, sexual encounters, art history, treachery, malice, Guy Burgess, Anthony Blunt, Lolly, Trinity College Cambridge, and the world of art dealers. Dialogue is for ever witty, sarcastic and authentic, indeed
hilarious, with never a dull moment.
This is a book within a book. Like Marcel Proust, the Narrator is engaged in writing the book that he decides to publish at the end ‘a novella called Tante Brutus' under the new name of Alan Halliday!
Cover art Alan Halliday, drawing of a woman in ink and gouache, 1972