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Paris in the 1890s. Adam Gould, whose Anglo-Irish father has disowned him, works in a lunatic asylum run by the celebrated Dr Blanche, some of whose patients once starred in France';s social firmament and still, when sane, sit at table with distinguished guests. One such patient is Guy de Maupassant. Another is Belcastel, who has taken the blame for a monarchist plot against the Third Republic, then feigned insanity. Madness and uncertain identity drive Adam';s story, fuelled by Maupassant';s sparkling insights on the matter. Gould falls in love with a married connection of Belcastel';s. And things are made no simpler on his return home, when he becomes entangled with a cousin who looks hauntingly like his dead mother. 'A writer of stunning quality, a novelist of irony and compassion.'; The Daily Telegraph 'Splendidly readable.'; William Trevor '...a highly original work of fiction, urbane, elegant and full of esprit.' Patricia Craig Independent '...a remarkable work, written in a style of steely distinction.' Francis King Literary Review '... a vivid and absorbing story, fast-paced and confident of its strong historical flavourings.' Eve Patten Irish Times 'The novel is witty and thoutghtful...' Times Literary Supplement
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