Half Broken Things
Winner of CWA Silver Dagger 2003
Jean, Michael and Steph are three reluctant loners who are just getting by. Damaged and fearful of life, they cannot survive alone for much longer. A mixture of deceit, good luck and misfortune draws them together to Walden Manor, a secluded and gracious country house that promises sanctuary and freedom from impending destitution. Out of an invented past they shape a beautiful present, full of hope and happiness. And, beguiled by the gentle passing of time itself, all three of them, for the first time in their lives, lose their dread of the future.
If their sense of safety is built on a delusion, does it matter? When the idyll is threatened, Jean, Michael and Steph discover that because their lives are now worth living they are now also worth preserving, although at appalling cost.
This award-winning novel explores what happens when the ‘have-nots’ strive to become the ‘haves’. It combines thought-provoking, sometimes chilling moral complexity with humane and compelling story-telling. Half Broken Things is a dark story, richly told, about love and our need for it: the damage done when we go too long without it, and what people might be driven to do in its name.
‘… a triumphant performance. … displays an astonishing insight into the darker recesses of the human soul . . . a work of fiction that sets its author on the path to greatness.’
‘sad, funny, original and wise’
The Literary Review
‘Brilliantly conceived, a finely executed novel . . . this is a must read.’
Publishers Weekly (starred review)
‘A fascinating moral exercise as well as a gripping novel’
Scotland on Sunday
‘This is a top-notch example of British psychological thriller writing.’
Manchester Evening News
‘Joss is a writer to treasure.’
The Sunday Herald
‘A first class psychological gripper’
‘… an extraordinary book – dark, painful, thought-provoking, and disturbing…’
‘… quite the most impressive novel yet from a writer whose work has combined total narrative command with a laser-like psychological penetration. … such masters of this kind of narrative (in the non-crime field) as William Trevor are both evoked and matched in achievement. … deserves all the accolades that have been thrown its way.’