Synopses & Reviews
Art needs a sense of lack to bring about its own effects; where there is no feeling of need to make up a shortfall, there will be no work. The story of falling in love is the greatest tale ever told, repeated through centuries and across continents, as captivating and mysterious in contemporary London pubs as in Petrach's Renaissance Italy. Caroline's Bikini reinvents the narrative of unrequited love as experienced by a middle-aged financier and filtered through his amanuensis. How does the lover imagine and idealise the loved one? In her mischievously intelligent novel about Petrach and Laura, Dante and Beatrice, Evan and Caroline, Kirsty Gunn explores the abstract nature of courtly love in the modern world. Ready. Steady. Go
A gin-fueled love story with one part One Day mixed with one part Zadie Smith and a splash of Ali Smith/b>.
Included in the Guardian's "Top Ten books about unrequited love"
"Alright" I said, "I'll try..." This is how Emily Stuart opens her intricate tale of a classic love affair that becomes Caroline's Bikini a swirling cocktail of infatuation, obsession, and imagination. The moment that Emily's friend Evan Gordonstone - a successful middle-aged financier - meets Caroline Beresford - a glamorous former horsewoman, and now housewife, hostess, and landlady - there is a "PING " At least, that's how Evan describes it to Emily when he persuades her to record his story: the story of falling into unrequited love, which is as old as Western literature itself. Thus begins a hypnotic series of conversations set against the beguiling backdrop of West London's bars, fueled in intensity by endless gin and tonics and Q&As. From the depths of mid-winter to July's hot swelter, Emily's narration of Evan's passion for Caroline will take him to the brink of his own destruction.
Written in a voice so playful, so charismatic, and so thoughtfully aware of the responsibilities of fiction it can only be by Kirsty Gunn, Caroline's Bikini is a swooning portrait of courtly love - in a modern world not celebrated for its restraint and abstraction. Ready. Steady. Go