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A Trick I Learned from Dead Men

Kitty Aldridge

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Published by Jonathan Cape, part of Vintage Publishing

Format: Hardback

£16.99

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Details

EAN: 9780224096430
Published: 5 Jul 2012

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About the book

Synopsis

After the disappearance of their father and the sudden death of their mother, Lee Hart and his deaf brother, Ned, imagine all is lost until Lee lands a traineeship at their local funeral home and discovers there is life after death. Here, in the company of a crooning ex-publican, a closet pole vaulter, a terminally-ill hearse driver, and the dead of their local town, old wounds begin to heal and love arrives as a beautiful florist aboard a 'Fleurtations' delivery van.

But death is closer than Lee Hart thinks. Somewhere among the quiet lanes and sleepy farms something else is waiting. And it is closing in. Don't bring your work home with you, that's what they say. Too late.

Sometimes sad, often hilarious and ultimately tragic and deeply moving, A Trick I Learned from Dead Men is a pitch perfect small masterpiece from a writer described by Richard Ford as having 'a moral grasp upon life that is grave, knowing, melancholy, often extremely funny and ultimately optimistic'.

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What the critics say

The most perfectly formed, originally voiced, heartbreakingly real story I've read in years. I laughed, I cried, and mostly I just marvelled at how bloody brilliant this book is.
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Aldridge is a skilled observer and the novel is full of detailed, sometimes strangely beautiful descriptions... Aldridge shows her eye for detail: there is joy to be found in the mundanities of day-to-day life.
- Times Literary Supplement

A wonderfully funny, original novel. It is a testament to Aldridge's writing that she manages to create a convincing and expansive universe in such a modest space. In writing about lives and deaths reduced to their smallest elements she has created something joyous and life-affirming.
- Guardian

Life presents Lee with nothing but adversity, yet he never gives up, and Aldridge’s punchy style captures his matter-of-fact voice perfectly as he fights on with moving determination. Both tragic yet somehow life-affirming, her novel holds you to the end.
- Sunday Times

Kitty Aldridge has a gift for original prose... The narrator’s tone of voice is pitch-perfect...blackly funny, moving.
- Independent

A Trick I Learned From Dead Men is a wonderful book, written with a mixture of pathos and bleak humour that brings to mind classic television comedies such as The Office... Lee’s narration seems beautifully true: it is stop-start, cliché ridden, and marked by that peculiarly British tendency to point out the stray cloud in an otherwise spotless sky.
- Financial Times

Brimful of life and littered with laugh-out loud moments... it’s impossible not to be moved and amused
- Mail on Sunday

Kitty Aldridge has a talent for vocalising the thought of the young... In her first-person narration, Aldridge captures the idiom and diction of an earnest working lad...his staccato sentences are immensely powerful.
- Independent on Sunday

Aldridge beautifully captures Lee’s thought patterns... Her research is impeccable, and the quirky portrait of funeral home routine will appeal to fans of the TV series Six Feet Under.
- Daily Mail

An uplifting tale of life after death. Dead good.
- Time Out

Finely handled blend of the funny and sad.
- Sunday Times

Wonderful.
- Observer

This small but perfectly formed third novel from Kitty Aldridge is over too soon but is impressively accomplished, nailing the distinctive voice of its protagonist… Inventive coming-of-age tale (4 stars).
- Metro

Both tragic and life-affirming.
- Sunday Times

An absorbing read.
- The Lady

A dark, but oddly funny novel... Sad, funny and very moving.
- Easy Living

Kitty Aldridge’s latest novel mixes pathos and bathos in industrial quantities…he [Lee Hart] is an immensely likeable protagonist and Aldridge has absolutely captured his engagingly open inner voice.
- Scotland on Sunday

This is the third novel by Kitty Aldridge and will surely bring her fiction to a much wider readership... Written in short, snappy sentences - just as people really speak - many sentences end in but. There are no quotation marks. This is good. This is literary fiction that is dark, funny, sad, contemporary. At just over 200 pages this short novel has potential crossover appeal to a Young Adult audience.
- We Love This Book

Every so often you come across a book that is completely different from anything else you’ve ever read, and it’s so refreshing! It’s a moving book all about love, loss, death and family. You’ll cry, but it’s really funny too, and the oddball characters are totally unforgettable and haunting.
- Fabulous Magazine

Wonderful… I am completely convinced by Lee and drawn along with his narrative voice which Kitty Aldridge has pitched to perfection… Kitty has taken a taboo subject and achieved that fine balance, writing engagingly and openly, and with great sensitivity and humour about something most of us just don't like to think or talk about.
- Dove Grey Reader

Quirky and original voice, often amusing and touching, A Trick I learned from Dead Men illuminates and dignifies an ordinary consciousness in an ordinary little corner of England.
- Book Oxygen

Touching, clever and original piece of work. I thoroughly recommend it.
- Book geeks

This simple poignant tale resonates long after the final page has been turned.
- Bella

Striking authenticity.
- Writers Hub

About the Author

Kitty Aldridge was born in the Middle East but grew up in England. A graduate of the Drama Centre, London, she has since worked in theatre, film, and television as an actress and writer. Her first novel, Pop (Cape, 2001), was longlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction 2002 and shortlisted for the Pendleton May First Novel Award 2002. Her second novel, Cryers Hill, was published by Cape in 2007. Her short story, Arrivederci Les, won the Bridport Short Story Prize 2011 (Bridport Prize Anthology 2011).

Kitty Aldridge

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