A beautiful, lambent, timely novel that admits our worst capacities while insisting on accountability and our ability to improve. Andrew Miller is among those brave male writers steering a progressive course. Yet he remains, as ever, unique, visionary, a master at unmasking humanity.
The theme is handled in a way that is bolder and more exquisitely menacing than anything he's done before . . . It's all real, and all fictional, gorgeously so. You read what might have been a perfectly commonplace story of failure and redemption with your pulse racing, all your senses awake. Miller's last novel didn't make the Booker list, but this restrained, beautifully written apologia for our common frailty surely should.
I spent the first half of The Slowworm's Song in a sort of ecstasy, marvelling at Miller's masterful characterisation; his confident evocation of army life and sensitive depiction of the Troubles; the nuanced exploration of alcoholism; the clean, well-made prose style studded with moments of descriptive beauty . . . Stephen is an unforgettable character, and Miller has pulled off the miraculous feat of sketching a full human life in a few hundred pages.
The focused interiority of Stephen's narration, together with the slowburning fuse of a plot, make for a quiet intensity that stretches the nerves . . . this empathic and artful novel is about both the mysteries we are to ourselves, and the power of speech
Gorgeously written . . . it approaches the Troubles from a unique angle . . . Since his debut, Ingenious Pain, Miller has shown a knack for historical immersion, and he continues to excel in it here.
It's difficult not to be moved by Stephen's heartfelt words as he comes face to face with what happened in that 1982 summer.
The multiple award-winning author of Pure returns with a tender, compelling and exquisitely written novel of extraordinary power . . . Exploring a brutal chapter in the unhappy and sometimes shameful history of Northern Ireland, this wonderful novel is also a story of atonement and redemption.
Miller tackles big themes and weaves a profound and poignant tale about shame, trauma and the possibility of redemption.
A poignant and profound tale of a man seeking atonement.
Andrew Miller's gentle, beautifully crafted sentences belie the often brutal truths behind the narrative. The image of the slowworm, silent and sinister, finding its way into the precious earth, is set against a song of light and life that won't be silenced.
A painful yet beautiful novel . . . Miller is a wonderful storyteller, as comfortable writing about the Napoleonic wars as the Troubles. Other authors love him, and he deserves more readers. In this novel, Stephen's reckoning may be extreme but his message is universal.
Andrew Miller is one of our finest writers. Few can match his sensitivity of touch, eye for telling detail and acute feel for setting . . . The passages describing Rose's military duty are impeccably researched and viscerally real.
The sections detailing Stephen's army life, and particularly those covering his tour of duty in Belfast, are excellent: immersive in their detail and atmosphere . . . [Miller] has sufficient decorum, talent and sensitivity to do justice to his delicate subject matter.
His evocation of squaddie life rings absolutely true . . . It's deeply moving to see how this self-torturing individual gradually learns that he's surrounded by helpers, often in the unlikeliest of guises, while tiny flowers of grace spring up in stony places.
There is no easy resolutions, and that is why The Slowworm's Song . . . is so affecting. It is about truth, objective or otherwise, and about the attempts of flawed human beings to live with it.