The New Life

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Winner of the Orwell Prize for Political Fiction, the Prix du Premier Roman Étranger, and the South Bank Sky Arts Award for Literature - Named a Best Book of the Year by The New Yorker, Los Angeles Times, The Guardian, and The Times (London) - The Sunday Times (London) Novel of the Year - Shortlisted for the 2023 Nero Book Award for Debut Fiction and the Polari Prize - Selected for Kirkus Review's Best Fiction Books of the Year

A captivating and "remarkable" (The Boston Globe) debut that "brims with intelligence and insight" (The New York Times), about two marriages, two forbidden love affairs, and the passionate search for social and sexual freedom in late 19th-century London.

In the summer of 1894, John Addington and Henry Ellis begin writing a book arguing that homosexuality, which is a crime at the time, is a natural, harmless variation of human sexuality. Though they have never met, John and Henry both live in London with their wives, Catherine and Edith, and in each marriage, there is a third party: John has a lover, a working-class man named Frank, and Edith spends almost as much time with her friend Angelica as she does with Henry. John and Catherine have three grown daughters and a long, settled marriage, over the course of which Catherine has tried to accept her husband's sexuality and her own role in life; Henry and Edith's marriage is intended to be a revolution in itself, an intellectual partnership that dismantles the traditional understanding of what matrimony means.

Shortly before the book is to be published, Oscar Wilde is arrested. John and Henry must decide whether to go on, risking social ostracism and imprisonment, or to give up the project for their own safety and the safety of the people they love.

A richly detailed, powerful, and visceral novel about love, sex, and the struggle for a better world, The New Life brilliantly asks: "What's worth jeopardizing in the name or progress?" (The New York Times Book Review, Editors' Choice).

About the Author

Tom Crewe was born in Middlesbrough in 1989. He has a PhD in 19th-century British history from the University of Cambridge. Since 2015, he has been an editor at the London Review of Books, to which he has contributed more than thirty essays on politics, art, history, and fiction. The New Life is his first novel.

"The New Life is filled with nuance and tenderness, steeped in the atmosphere of late nineteenth century London, a world on the brink of social and sexual change. Tom Crewe's brilliant novel dramatizes the relationship between the visionary and the brave, charting the lives of men and women who inspired not only political progress but an entire new way of living and loving."
--Colm Tóibín, author of Brooklyn and The Magician

Publisher: Scribner Book Company
Pub date:
Length:
416 pages
Format: Paperback