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Lord Jim at Home

Foreword by Moshfegh
Published by McNally Editions
Distributed by Simon & Schuster

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About The Book

“A ferocious comedy of middle-class dysfunction . . . published to controversy in 1973 . . . A masterpiece.” —Claire Allfree, The Telegraph

When Dinah Brooke’s second novel, Lord Jim at Home, was first published in 1973, it was described as “squalid and startling,” “nastily horrific,” and a “monstrous parody” of upper-middle class English life. It is the story of Giles Trenchard, who grows up isolated in an atmosphere of privilege and hidden violence; who goes to war, and returns; and then, one day—like the hero of Joseph Conrad's classic Lord Jim—commits an act that calls his past, his character, his whole world into question.

Out of print for nearly half a century (and never published in the United States), Lord Jim at Home reveals a daring writer long overdue for reappraisal, whose work has retained all its originality and power. As Ottessa Moshfegh writes in her foreword to this new edition, Brooke evokes childhood vulnerability and adult cruelty “in a way that nice people are too polite to admit they understand.”

About The Author

Dinah Brooke left Cheltenham Ladies’ College at sixteen to go to Paris, where she studied sculpture and Greek. She read English at Oxford, attended film school in London, briefly worked for a documentary film company, and spent a year in Greenwich Village. Back in London, she married, had twins, and, in the early 1970s, published four critically acclaimed novels. In 1975, she took sannyas, was given the new name Ma Prem Pankaja by Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, and lived for the next six years in his ashram in Poona, India. She returned to London in 1981, where she lives today.w

Product Details

  • Publisher: McNally Editions (October 3, 2023)
  • Length: 264 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781946022646

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Raves and Reviews

“If it weren’t such a pleasure to read, I’d say that Lord Jim at Home—read by a novelist, like me—was an instrument of torture. It’s that good.”

– Ottessa Moshfegh, from the Foreword

“[A] brilliant forgotten novelist . . . [a] superb book . . . a ferocious comedy of middle-class dysfunction, [it] was published to controversy in 1973 . . . Rich in grotesquerie, including several comically repulsive sex scenes, it has the unhinged realism of a fairground mirror . . . Lord Jim at Home is a masterpiece.”

– Claire Allfree, The Telegraph

"A classic that has lain dormant for fifty years. Ahead of its time, and now looking timeless, it has resurfaced with éclat. It is short and shocking . . . [an] alarming, accomplished tale."

– Margaret Drabble, Times Literary Supplement

“This gripping tale of power, cruelty and all the consequences—the title’s reference to Joseph Conrad’s novel hints at the themes—was first published in 1973, and it seems extraordinary that it has been largely forgotten until now . . . This novel [is] full of horrors but energetic, funny and tense as a spring . . . Lord Jim at Home, inspired by a real story but full of the kind of truth only fiction can deliver, plants its devilish brilliance deep in the reader and won’t let go.”

– John Self, The Guardian

"How bracing to read something as odd, nasty, unpredictable, funny and just downright different as Lord Jim at Home . . . A perfect martini with a razor blade at the bottom of the glass."

– Jayne Taylor, The Times

"Lord Jim at Home . . . dwells unflinchingly, sometimes gleefully, on the way that scandal washes over a community, and the sorrow and schadenfreude that follow in its wake . . . Brooke has a limpid, assured style: cruel, yes, but not detached or apathetic . . . It’s frigid fun."

– Dan Piepenbring, Harper's

"Brooke’s 1973 novel, first published in the U.K., presents a stinging portrait of an upper middle class British family . . . Her wide-eyed view of the dark side of the privileged class is as startling today as it was a half-century ago."

Publishers Weekly

"You can see why Ottessa Moshfegh is a fan of Dinah Brooke’s pitch-black 1973 novel Lord Jim at Home. A nihilistic satire on upper-class Englishness and emotional violence, it’s shocking and brilliant."

The Guardian, 2023’s Biggest New Books

“A reissued novel from 1973, and the world might finally be more ready for it. Giles Trenchard is the protagonist and—like Edward St Aubyn’s Patrick Melrose—is born into privilege and an atmosphere of hidden violence. After boarding school and the Navy, he finds himself adrift like the hero of Conrad’s Lord Jim, and commits a shocking act. Emphatically not for the faint-hearted.”

– Alex Peake-Tomkinson, Evening Standard

“An unmissable rediscovery from 1973, Lord Jim at Home by Dinah Brooke, turns a cold eye on the family dysfunction of the English upper class. Through scalpel-sharp prose and bitter comedy it lays bare the darkest human impulses.”

– Justine Jordan, The Guardian, Best Books of 2023

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