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Luminous . . . at once a wistful and tender love story and a harrowing account of how people from two utterly different cultures and ways of looking at the world can find, then lose, each other. . . . Kitty & Virgil reminds one again and again of the sheer pleasures of a story told with empathy, elegance and an unfailing delight in the language. Publishers Weekly, starred review
Brilliant, wry, and utterly affecting, Kitty and Virgil is a glorious novel about a most unusual relationship and Paul Bailey s most ambitious and highly praised novel to date. Set in the present day and also ranging back in time from 1930s Romania and England in the 1950s, the novel captures the lives of Kitty and Virgil, limning the trajectory of a moving and exhilarating love affair.
Kitty Crozier wakes up in a a hospital bed and finds a stranger looking down at her. He smiles at her and walks away. Months later, in London s Green Park, she encounters him again. They speak to each other for the first time and on a whim she inviites him to visit her the following day. So begins the most important, most demanding, most thrilling relationship of Kitty s life. Her lover is Virgil Florescu, a dissident poet who swam the Danube to escape Ceausescu s Romania to live in London. As their liaison deepens, they discover more about each others lives and especially about each others rather complicated fathers: Kitty s father is drop-dead charming and a stunningly accomplished philanderer and Virgil s had changed political allegiances to ensure his survival. Rich with characters and despite its profound theme, often fiendishly funny, Kitty and Virgil is above all the story of two extraordinary families and the interweaving of their histories and secrets.
Paul Bailey s first novel, At the Jerusalem won three prizes, including the Somerset Maugham Award. This was followed by Trespasses and A Distant Likeness. In 1974 he received the E. M. Forster Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and in 1977 the George Orwell Memorial Prize. Peter Smart s Confessions was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. Old Soldiers appeared in 1980, and Gabriel s Lament (also shortlisted for the Booker Prize) in 1986. His other books include the memoir An Immaculate Mistake (1990) and Sugar Cane (1993).