Something to Answer For

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Faber & Faber, 2018 M07 3 - 284 pages

Winner of the inaugural Booker Prize in 1969.

It is 1956 and Townrow is in Port Said - of these two facts he's reasonably certain. He has been summoned by the widow of his deceased friend, Elie Khoury. She is convinced that Elie was murdered, but nobody seems to agree with her. What about Leah Strauss, the mistress? And the invading British paratroops? Only an Englishman, surely, would take for granted that the British have behaved themselves. In this disorientating world Townrow must assess the rules by which he has been living his life - to wonder whether he, too, may have something to answer for . . .


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User Review  - bodachliath - LibraryThing

It is always interesting to read Booker winners but I have rather mixed feelings about this one (the first). At face value it reads like a comic picaresque dream story, a confusing narrative set in ... Read full review

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User Review  - Mercury57 - LibraryThing

By the time I’d struggled to the last page of Something to Answer For there was little I felt sure about any longer. Nothing in the novel seems quite certain other than it’s set in Port Said, a city ... Read full review

Selected pages


Title Page
A Fall from the Balcony
A Sort of Patriot
Talk on a Hot Morning
Under Inspection
A Man should smell Sweet
A sea requiem
About the Author

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About the author (2018)

Percy Howard Newby wrote twenty-three novels and six works of non-fiction. He was born in East Sussex in 1918. He joined the Royal Army Medical Corps in 1939, and visited Egypt for the first time in 1941, as part of the army's Middle East Force. From 1942 Newby was released from the army to teach English Literature at Fouad 1st University in Cairo, where he stayed until 1946. During that time he wrote his first novel. In 1947 he returned to England to write, joining the BBC in 1949 as a talks producer. He created literary-based broadcasting for the Third Programme (which became Radio Three), before becoming controller of that station in 1958, and then Managing Director of BBC Radio in 1975. He retired from the BBC in 1978, having been awarded a CBE. Newby died in 1997, in Oxfordshire.

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