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Earthly Powers

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Praise for Earthly Powers:

Celebrating 40 years of Earthly Powers


Earthly Powers is a wide-ranging novel set in England, France, Italy, Malaysia, Malta, Morocco, Uganda and the United States. Its references span the 1918 influenza pandemic, homosexuality and the church, Hollywood, divorce, euthanasia and much more. Therefore, there is plenty to write about when reviewing the book…

‘The cleverest trick in this clever book is the storytelling itself. It’s gripping. It feels real and solid. There’s emotional weight. There’s drama and pathos. At its heart, Earthly Powers remains an immersive and compelling page-turner. Burgess may constantly remind us not to take things at face value – but he also ensures that we can’t help but do so…’ Guardian Books [read more here]

‘This is exciting stuff. It is not surprising that the novel was short-listed for the Booker prize. The narrative is compelling, the arguments important.’ – D.A.N. Jones, The Listener.

‘Burgess has written a novel epic in its sweep, subtle in its portraiture, graceful in its unforbidding exploration of ideas, and brutally funny.’ – David Caute, New Statesman.

‘Taking on a sprawling mass of characters, threading them through an epic narrative that spans six decades, Earthly Powers genuinely does set out to explore why the world is as it is, and why people behave as they do. These questions are possibly at the heart of all serious writing, but no contemporary writer comes closer to an answer than Burgess, in this masterpiece of 20th-century fiction.’ The Independent [read more here]

‘Burgess plays games with language with a skill no other living writer can equal.’ – Peter S. Prescott, Newsweek.

‘The astonishing Mr Burgess has somehow managed to graft James Joyce onto Somerset Maugham, with a demented laugh track.’ – John Leonard, New York Times.

‘By the time I had reached the end of this novel I had accumulated enough notes to make a modest book: a fact that bears witness to the sheer density of the writing, as well as the seriousness of its concern… Earthly Powers carries greater intellectual substance, more power and grim humour, more knowledge, than ten average novels put together.’ London Review of Books [read more here]

Earthly Powers – hugely entertaining and inventive as it is – remains a most ironic version of “the big book”.’ – Lorna Sage, The Observer.

‘Earthly Powers is a big, grippingly readable, extraordinarily rich and moving fiction by one of the most ambitiously creative writers working in English.’ – Jeremy Treglown, Times Literary Supplement.


Celebrating 40 years of Earthly Powers