Translated from the Dutch by David Doherty
It is the Monaco Grand Prix in May 1968. Jack Preston, a mechanic for Team Sutton, is making the final checks on his car as the beau monde mingles with the drivers under the eyes of the world’s press and the galleries of spectators. DeeDee, a starlet of great beauty, seems to be walking towards him, or perhaps towards the royal box. Without warning a fireball rips across the starting grid. Preston will always bear the scars as a consequence of his unthinking heroism, his saving the life and the beauty of the girl, but details of the accident remain vague – no photographs capturing the moment have come to light.
Weeks later, Preston emerges from hospital and goes home to his wife in a remote English village from which the drab atmosphere of the 1950s has yet to recede. There, as he slowly recovers, he awaits word from his employers and some sign of DeeDee’s gratitude, an acknowledgement that it was he who saved her life.This is an unsettlingly beautiful story of obsession by an acknowledged master of classical restraint.
About the author
Peter Terrin represents a unique voice in contemporary literature, touching on universal and highly topical themes. He is considered by critics to be a literary maverick, a classic writer and a masterful stylist. He is also an avid collector of vintage typewriters. He won a European Literature Prize for The Guard, and the AKO Literatuurprijs for Post Mortem.
This filmic novel about male obsession is a small masterpiece. Anti-hero Jack Preston is a mechanic on the formula one circuit. When he saves the famous actress Deedee from the fire on the track of Monte Carlo, he gets scared for life. He returns home waiting for a sign from Deedee. Instead of being a hero he becomes the laughing stock of the Village. The novel is fluently written in alluring transparent sentences. It is a powerful intense novel in a dark and oppressive atmosphere.Monaco, May 1968. Just before the start of the Formula 1 Grand Prix, when the beau monde mingles with the drivers and their racing cars before the eyes of the world press, the entire grandstand is witness to a terrible incident. Within seconds, two people are caught up in an accident that will change their lives forever; from now on Jack Preston, a simple mechanic for Team Lotus, will bear the scars from which he shielded Deedee, a budding film star and embodiment of the new social mores. This is an unsettling read about obsession, in beautiful prose expertly translated by David Doherty. An auto mechanic from team Lotus saves an actress from a fire during the F1 race in Monte Carlo. Back in his home town he waits for a sign from her, but instead of this he gets fired. Illustrative novel which tells of an obsession which never can be fulfilled. Especially if no one believes his rescue story. Even the reader begins to doubt his story…. Of course this can never end well.