A Personal History of Thirstby John Burdett
From former British barrister John Burdett comes a psychosexual novel in the tradition of Damage and Presumed Innocent. At the heart of A Personal History of Thirst is an ill-fated love triangle where all hunger for something and are willing to risk everything to get it, blurring the boundaries between right and wrong and love and hate to do so. Thirst tells a… See more details below
From former British barrister John Burdett comes a psychosexual novel in the tradition of Damage and Presumed Innocent. At the heart of A Personal History of Thirst is an ill-fated love triangle where all hunger for something and are willing to risk everything to get it, blurring the boundaries between right and wrong and love and hate to do so. Thirst tells a gripping tale of murder, revenge, infidelity, ambition, and deception that keeps shocking until the stunning courtroom climax. In the end, A Personal History of Thirst answers the question: What happens when genuine love becomes mixed with perverse obsession?
Among the suspects in Thirst's death is James Knight, a barrister so accomplished that he is about to be named a Queen's Counsel. Burdett, who has practiced law in London, renders the details of a trial attorney's life with precision, vigor, and with obvious relish for the peculiar byways of the law. Knight, as a young barrister scrabbling for cases, had managed to save Thirst from a lengthy jail term. Against his better judgment, he is talked into taking a further interest in Thirst, who, having sworn off crime, has enrolled in the university. Both men are cockneys, both are intelligent, both are "straining every nerve to move up a few strata in British society." Knight does rise but Thirst gradually slips from failure to self-pity to a career as a drug dealer catering to the appetites of the trendier echelons of London society. He also manages to seduce Knight's sensual, amoral wife, Daisy, and eventually to marry her. Daisy is arrested for Thirst's murder (he had been an ingeniously abusive husband, and she had been photographed practicing her marksmanship on a shooting range), and Knight comes to her defense. Burdett's trial scenes are terse, often mordantly funny, always convincing. But Thirst never comes to life: He remains more a collection of grievances than a character. And the series of revelations at the climax about Knight's past life and motives seem more baffling than illuminating.
Burdett, in attempting to turn our perceptions of the novel's events inside out, only confuses. Still, his unblinking eyehis characters are sketched in with great shrewdnessand his exact, resonant style make one hope that next time he'll rely less on surprise, more on narrative.
- HarperCollins Publishers
- Publication date:
- Edition description:
- 1st ed
- Product dimensions:
- 6.48(w) x 9.61(h) x 1.06(d)
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