John Matthews is a happily married college lecturer, living in Bristol with his successful wife, Penny.
The couple, now in their early thirties, are trying for a baby.
All this is seemingly inexplicably threatened when John is stopped short by seeing a familiar haircut on the street. This insignificant encounter triggers a decline over a single week into depression and near insanity as memories and nightmares, all connected to a past repressed relationship, overwhelm him and threaten his otherwise stable life.
In this compelling work of contemporary literary fiction, Stewart weaves dream and reality, false and true memory into a challenging psychological drama of one ordinary man’s failure to cope with the secrets of his past as they force their way into the present.
First cover shown, from Kindle edition.
Matthew Feldman, professor in the modern history of ideas, Teesside University, is reading Paul Stewart’s Now Then (Armida, 2014). “Powerfully written debut novel by a noted Beckett scholar. Shades of the Irishman’s opacity abound in this psychologically deft account of a week’s remorseless descent into near-madness. Shards of often-unreliable memories cut progressively deeper each day, as the narrator’s past failings drag his present into an accusatory darkness. Heavy-going, but well worth the effort.”