For his intriguing novel, Jonathan Lee uses the 1986 plot to bomb a Brighton Hotel as Margaret Thatcher and her entourage attend a conference. Main characters Moose, the Grand Hotel manager, his daughter Freya, and a young IRA operative, Dan, make up the braided narrative that tells this story. Moose has a health crisis, Freya is lost and in limbo, and Dan swings wildly from steely focus to sloppy drunkenness. Underneath it all, the drive for human connection — at all costs — illuminates, complicates, and undermines every step along the way. Great read! Recommended By Dianah H., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
In September 1984, a bomb was planted at the Grand Hotel in the seaside
town of Brighton, England, set to explode in twenty-four days when the
British prime minister and her entire cabinet would be staying there. High Dive
not only takes us inside this audacious assassination attempt—a
decisive act of violence on the world stage—but also imagines its way
into a group of unforgettable characters. Nimbly weaving together fact
and fiction, comedy and tragedy, the story switches among the
perspectives of Dan, a young IRA explosives expert; Moose, a former star
athlete gone to seed, who is now the deputy hotel manager; and Freya,
his teenage daughter, trying to decide what comes after high school.
Over the course of a mere four weeks, as the prime minister’s arrival
draws closer, each of their lives will be transformed forever.
A bold, astonishingly intimate novel of laughter and heartbreak, High Dive is a moving portrait of clashing loyalties, guilt and regret, and how individuals become the grist of history.
“With wry wit and profound tenderness, Jonathan Lee’s High Dive highlights
the tensions—between hope and heartbreak, struggle and surrender—at the
intersection of the mundane and the momentous. A bold, thrilling
triumph of a book.” Téa Obreht, author of The Tiger’s Wife
"A brilliant, urgent, unstoppable novel.
"‘You had to remember you were at war.’ This is what Dan, an IRA volunteer in Belfast, tells himself in March, 1984, not long after his 24th birthday, which was also the day he found out he would be planting a bomb intending to kill Margaret Thatcher and as many members of her cabinet as possible. In September of that same year, an actual slow-release time bomb did explode at the Grand Hotel, in Brighton, England, killing five people but missing the prime minister. That explosion is the real-life event at the heart of this brilliant, urgent, unstoppable novel.
"Having second and even third thoughts about the mission, Dan reckons with himself: ‘The truth was that on an operation you felt clean of guilt and will. It was day-to-day Belfast life that made you dirty.’ Interspersed with Dan’s mounting internal struggles and resolve are the lives of Freya Finch and her father, who’s called Moose, both of whom work at the Grand Hotel and are busy getting ready for the prime minister’s arrival. Freya has just graduated from high school and is restless and uncertain. Her father’s in a similar position, though it’s the middle-aged version, in which he’s grappling with the limitations of his health, his appeal to women, and his ability to understand his newly adult daughter." Publisher's Weekly, in a featured boxed review
“Brilliant, urgent, unstoppable . . . An incredible novel of rare insight, velocity, depth, and daring.” Publishers Weekly (Starred)
“High Dive is a fascinating look into a troubled past. In taut
scene after taut scene, with a fine style and wit among the carnage,
Jonathan Lee does service to history and the novel both.” Joshua Ferris, author of Then We Came to the End
About the Author
Jonathan Lee is a British writer living in Brooklyn. High Dive is his first novel to be published in the United States.