The story of one man’s struggle to reconcile his past in order to make way for his future.
Benjamin Franklin Pinkerton - the faithless young naval lieutenant who abandons Madam Butterfly - was glimpsed fleetingly in Peter Rushforth’s previous novel, Pinkerton’s Sister. Now Ben steps out of the shadows and into the centre of the stage, a young man haunted by the desolation of his boyhood years, unable to show or respond to love.
He’s about to sail for Japan. But his imminent departure conjures up the life he and his sister have led, and the monstrous act for which he is most remembered: the rejection and destruction of a pure and loving heart. What happened to him then will mark his whole life. He is his own man, but he is also his sister’s brother.
Once again, in his mastery of language, his extraordinary imagination, his superb sense of time and place, Peter Rushforth has given the world a second masterpiece, ranking alongside, or surpassing, his earlier triumph.
Peter Rushforth’s brilliant first novel, Kindergarten, was published in 1979 and won the Hawthorden Prize (awarded to the best work of imaginative literature.) After an absence of twenty-five years he returned to the literary scene in 2004 with the epic novel Pinkerton’s Sister, which charmed critics at the Washington Post, New Yorker, and San Francisco Chronicle and was named a Booksense selection in March 2005. In the fall of 2005 Rushforth finished a sequel to Pinkerton’s Sister, an elegant novel entitled A Dead Language.
Sadly, following his final revisions to his work, Peter Rushforth passed away while walking on his beloved Yorkshire Moors. A Dead Language was published posthumously in the U.K. by Simon & Schuster.
“[Rushforth’s] novel constitutes an epic inquiry into literature’s role as an engine of interior life.”
— The New Yorker
Publication Date: November 10, 2006
trim size: 9x 5.8 x 2.1