Prendergast’s Fall by David Cameron
Published by: Into Books
This is the story of a fall. It won’t take a minute.
Businessman, son, husband, lover, father, Martin Prendergast stands high up on an office ledge. He falls – perhaps physically, perhaps only mentally as yet. As he falls, he sees from various surreally appearing vantage points (such as a cliff, a slippery pole, a ceiling) scenes from his life unfolding in reverse order, a chronology reported in a minority of near-death experiences (to quote his mother, ‘he always did do everything arse-over-elbow’).
Why is he suicidal? His business is solvent despite the recent global financial crash. His marriage to Rosemary is foundering (he has been having a commonplace affair with a temp from the office), and his children barely speak to him. His mother is showing signs of dementia, and he of the same heart trouble that killed his beloved father. And then there was his one tragic love story… Still, the closer he gets to childhood, the more these reasons peel away, and the stronger is the sense of possibility.
That’s one way to read the novel. Another is to flip it over and follow Prendergast’s journey from possibility to despair. This two-directional book was written to be read from chapter 27 to chapter 0, and/or from chapter 0 to chapter 27. It is what used to be called an existentialist novel, but here the existential angst isn’t that of an artistic hero-outsider but of an Everyman – though one who ‘always sickened after something’. It’s the work of a writer who has been described as ‘one of the most insightful and thought-provoking poets around’ (Ron Butlin, Sunday Herald Books of the Year, 2016).
Writer – David Cameron
David Cameron was born in Glasgow in 1966, grew up in East Kilbride, studied English Literature at the University of Aberdeen, and now lives near Belfast where he works as an instructional designer. In 2014 he received the Hennessy Literary Award for Poetry. He is the author of the story collection Rousseau Moon (2000) and the novella The Ghost of Alice Fields (2014). His poetry is collected in The Bright Tethers: Poems 1988-2016. A commissioned critical study, Samuel Beckett: The Middle and Later Years, will also be published in 2019. Champions of his writing over the years have included Seamus Heaney (‘strangeness and credibility at the same time’), Dermot Healy, Ron Butlin, Iain Crichton Smith, Liz Lochhead and Robert Nye (‘a quality of verbal alchemy by which it transmutes the base matter of common experience into something like gold’). Recently he has been working with the composers David Jaeger and Philip Hammond on musical settings of his poems. He is married to the Irish glass artist Louise Rice and they have three young children.
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