Batlava Lake

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UPC: 9781913097622
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Authors: Adam Mars-Jones
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Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Fitzcarraldo Editions (November 16, 2021)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 104 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1913097625
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1913097622
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 5.6 ounces
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 5 x 0.5 x 7.5 inches


Pristina, Kosovo, 1999. Barry Ashton, recently divorced, has been deployed as a civil engineer attached to the Royal Engineers corps in the British Army.

In an extraordinary feat of ventriloquism, Adam Mars-Jones constructs a literary story with a thoroughly unliterary narrator, and a narrative that is anything but comic through the medium of a character who, essentially, is. Exploring masculinity, class and identity, Batlava Lake is a brilliant story of men and war by one of Britain's most accomplished writers.



‘Adam Mars-Jones has never needed to write at great length to convince readers of his talent. ... Mars-Jones’s latest work is a sliver of a novel that provides ample evidence of his prowess. ... Box Hill is not a novel for the prudish, but it is a masterclass in authorial control. ... Despite its diminutive length, it is rich with detail and complexity, and has plenty to demonstrate Mars-Jones’s well-deserved place on any list of our best.’
― Alex Nurnberg, 
Sunday Times‘Mars-Jones’ trim, poignant novel humanizes the intricacies of a dominant-submissive gay relationship…. A relationship that could seem profoundly unfair blossoms into a revelation of love and magic.’
Kirkus (starred)‘Mars-Jones colors Colin’s tender reminiscences with humor, sex, and tragedy. This is an indelible snapshot of 1970s English gay biker culture.’
Publishers Weekly

‘I very much enjoyed 
Box Hill. It is a characteristic Mars-Jones mixture of the shocking, the endearing, the funny, and the sad, with an unforgettable narrator. The sociological detail is as ever acutely enduring.’
― Margaret Drabble

‘The biggest small book of the year.’

‘An exquisitely discomfiting tale of a submissive same-sex relationship ... perfectly realised.’
― Anthony Cummins, 

‘A tender exploration of the love that truly dare not speak its name – that between master and slave. On his eighteenth birthday, Colin literally stumbles upon a strapping biker twice his age, and falls into a long-term relationship characterised by devotion, mystery, and submission. In plain unadorned prose, Mars-Jones shows us the tender, everyday nature of this. Self-deprecating, sad, and wise.’
― Fiona McGregor

‘A subtle, biting novella ... Although repressed boomers of Surrey are probably not the target audience of this intimate, stirring novel, they would probably enjoy this portrait of an impossibly lost age.’
― Martin Chilton, 

‘A clever and subtle novel.’
― Max Liu, 
Financial Times

‘The very best novel of the year was Adam Mars-Jones’s complex, shifting and sensationally lewd 
Box Hill ― for once in 2020 a novel written not to make an approved point or demonstrate its author’s virtue but to explore calmly the wildest stretches of human behaviour. Its subject is cruelty, both theatrically performed and executed in reality, without costumes. A masterpiece that Dame Ivy would have been greatly interested by.’
― Phillip Hensher, 

‘Mars-Jones’s prose is exceptionally nimble, dry, humorously restrained, very English, with a little Nabokovian velvet too. He can describe more or less anything and make it interesting.’
― James Wood, 
The London Review of Books