OK, MR FIELD
We can sort of lay claim to Katharine Kilalea – she grew up in SA but did her master’s in creative writing in London, where she’s been living ever since. This is her first novel (she is primarily a poet).
When Mr Field, a concert pianist in London, breaks his wrist, he uses the compensation money to buy a house in Llandudno, Cape Town
– a replica of Le Corbusier’s modernist Villa Savoye on the outskirts of Paris. Mr Field moves into it with Mim, his wife. Villa Savoye was designed as a ‘machine for living’: spare, logical, problem-solving
– and Mr Field is exactly the opposite: without his music, he barely knows who he is. Mim, too, seems to become more fragmented by the day; she eventually leaves without explanation and Mr Field hardly notices. While his everyday life sinks into disrepair, he develops an obsession with the woman who lived in the house before them.
Kilalea has a poet’s eye, and this is a brilliant and utterly unusual read. I highly recommend it. Sarah Charlston