The dazzling new novel by the Man Booker-nominated, Granta Best of Young British novelist, Ned Beauman.
In 1938, two rival expeditions set off for a lost Mayan temple in the jungles of Honduras, one intending to shoot a screwball comedy on location there, the other intending to disassemble it and ship it back to New York. A seemingly endless stalemate ensues, and twenty years later, when a rogue CIA agent learns that both expeditions are still out in the wilderness, he embarks on a mission to exploit the temple as a geopolitical pawn. But the mission hurtles towards disaster when he discovers that the temple is the locus of grander conspiracies than anyone could have guessed.
(P)2017 Hodder & Stoughton Limited
NED BEAUMAN was born in 1985 in London. His debut novel, Boxer, Beetle, won the Writers' Guild Award for Best Fiction Book and the Goldberg Prize for Outstanding Debut Fiction. His second novel, The Teleportation Accident, was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize and won the Encore Award and a Somerset Maugham Award. His third novel, Glow, was published in 2014. He has been chosen by the Culture Show as one of the twelve best new British novelists and by Granta as one of the 20 best British novelists under 40. His work has been translated into more than ten languages.
Dazzling . . . his best to date . . . If there is one adjective that describes Beauman's prose it is 'buoyant' - a quality which allows the reader to get through a long book with little effort, and the author to carry the considerable heft of his intelligence lightly. And it is a roaming intelligence. — David Patrikarakos, Spectator
Madness is Better than Defeat is a Swiss watch: there isn't a single moving part out of place . . . The jokes are superb . . . a zestful romp? Undoubtedly. But that doesn't quite do justice to the experience of reading Madness is Better than Defeat. The book is certainly a literary performance of a high order . . . The clockwork runs beautifully. Every paragraph gives pleasure. — Kevin Power, Literary Review
Almost perfect . . . This is one of the most purely enjoyable novels I've read in years - by turns sad, moving, thoughtful, intriguing, clever, enlightening, surprising and laugh-out-loud funny - which is more than enough. I can't think of any type of reader who wouldn't enjoy it: whether your thing is genre, literary or, like this, a fizzling, sparking, sparkling mixture of the two. — Darragh McManus, Irish Independent
A teaming shaggy-dog comedy of megalomania and obsession . . . Beauman is a sparkling writer, and his book bustles with diverting micro-narratives . . . A novel of great intelligence and humour, cleverly structured and brimming with tricks . . . a tremendous rainbow — Tim Martin, New Statesman
Beauman has a gift: he's a natural comic writer. (I've only read one funnier book this year) — Cal Revely-Calder, Guardian
It reminded me of a Coen brothers film . . . I found it enchanting, and I was happy to turn every page . . . I really enjoyed it — Tom Sutcliffe, BBC Radio 4 Saturday Review
I am really enjoying it . . . I have no clue what's going to happen when I turn the page — Inua Ellams, BBC Radio 4 Saturday Review
Wildly plotted, comedic . . . One senses that behind the vivacious plotting and baroque characterisation, Beauman's purpose is to question the "madness" of artistic endeavor . . . he emerges from his latest expedition triumphant. — Carl Wilkinson, Financial Times
Beauman's fourth novel provides his usual humour, oddities, convolutions and impressive writing. — Mail on Sunday
A fun madcap mystery — Daily Mail
Wildly original . . . Madness could easily become a confusing mess but Beauman manages to keep the narrative consistently focused and engaging. This madcap ride about the eccentricities of humans will keep you entertained till the last page — Bookriot
Typically quirky . . . Zany and sprawling — Tatler
Beauman writes with rare and bizarre brilliance — Sunday Telegraph