Headlong: A Novel

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Macmillan, Sep 1, 2000 - Fiction - 352 pages
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An unlikely con man wagers wife, wealth, and sanity in pursuit of an elusive Old Master.

Invited to dinner by the boorish local landowner, Martin Clay, an easily distracted philosopher, and his art-historian wife are asked to assess three dusty paintings blocking the draught from the chimney. But hiding beneath the soot is nothing less-Martin believes-than a lost work by Bruegel. So begins a hilarious trail of lies and concealments, desperate schemes and soaring hopes as Martin, betting all that he owns and much that he doesn't, embarks on a quest to prove his hunch, win his wife over, and separate the painting from its owner.

In Headlong, Michael Frayn, "the master of what is seriously funny" (Anthony Burgess), offers a procession of superbly realized characters, from the country squire gone to seed to his giddy, oversexed young wife. All are burdened by human muddle and human cravings; all are searching for a moral compass as they grapple with greed, folly, and desire. And at the heart of the clamor is Breugel's vision, its dark tones warning of the real risks of temptation and obsession.

With this new novel, Michael Frayn has given us entertainment of the highest order. Supremely wise and wickedly funny, Headlong elevates Frayn into the front rank of contemporary novelists.

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User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

A formidably learned, unfortunately ponderous comic romp from the British playwright (whose Noises Off is a contemporary classic) and novelist (Now You Know, 1993, etc.). Narrator and antihero Martin ... Read full review

Headlong: a novel

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

At the heart of this new novel by noted English dramatist Frayn is a dusty painting that bumbling philosopher Martin Clay suspects might be a missing Bruegel. Read full review

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About the author (2000)

Michael Frayn is a celebrated British playwright and is also the author of eight novels (including Headlong and Spies) and three screenplays. He lives in London.

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