An author whose debut novel, The Navigation Log, garnered him comparisons with Waugh and Maugham, Martin Corrick now returns with a story even more dazzling. By Chance is both suspenseful and thought-provoking, a philosophical tale that is rivetingly readable.
“The events that resulted in Bolsover’s presence at the Alpha Hotel are closely related to his memories of his wife.” James Watson Bolsover is an apparently normal middle-aged man, a shy yet soulful engineer turned technical writer who for many years shared a passionate marriage with his lovely wife, Katherine. Bolsover’s wife and his deep interest in his work made his life perfect, but then–by chance, misfortune, bad luck–he lost Katherine and, with her, his innocence. Now he travels by sea to a remote island and checks into what seems to be an ordinary hotel; in this safe haven he hopes to understand the past and start afresh. But we quickly discover that all of the hotel’s occupants, like Bolsover himself, have uncertain histories: All of them are “someone else,” seeking to leave their former lives behind.
As Bolsover grows accustomed to his new surroundings–and close to a new woman–the truth of his life trickles out like blood from a wound. He is not quite the simple fellow he seems, but a man who has carefully shielded his own history not only from others but also from himself. Culpability, identity, morality, and luck–all these play a part in a story that echoes our own lives.
Writing in terse, elegant, and irresistible prose, Martin Corrick proves himself a new British master. By Chance is an unforgettable novel that combines intelligence with emotion, and lingers in the mind.
Praise for Martin Corrick’s The Navigation Log:
“Deeply moving . . . This remarkable first novel owes the maturity of its tone . . . to an elegiac vision that reaches beyond death to [a] powerful network of connections that encircle the present and the past.”
–The New York Times Book Review
“The main delight of this book is its loving re-creation of time and place. Corrick has an uncanny ability to enter into the life of the thirties and to draw out details that reveal both the sweetness and the blandness of country life.”
“The Navigation Log flies like an arrow, swift and true. You may weep, but you will also thrill.”
–James Salter, author of Last Night
“Corrick’s ear for dialogue . . . adds humour and pace to the account of parallel lives in the realms of earth and sky.”
–The Times Literary Supplement
“Carefully crafted in the manner of Waugh and Maugham . . . rich with period ambience and dry wit.”
From the Hardcover edition.
About Martin Corrick
Martin Corrick is the author of By Chance and The Navigation Log. He holds an MA in creative writing from the University of East Anglia and for much of his working life was a university lecturer, but he has also worked as a journalist and copywriter. Corrick now writes full-time and lives in the county of Dorset in England.