The Quick: A Novel by Lauren OwenThe Quick: A Novel by Lauren Owen

The Quick: A Novel

byLauren Owen

Hardcover | October 18, 2016

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An astonishing debut of epic scope and suspense, The Quick conjures up magic and menace in Victorian London's elegant drawing rooms and its dark, dangerous alleyways. A rich feast for lovers of the novels of Sarah Waters, The Night Circus, and The Crimson Petal and the White.
     London, 1893: James Norbury is a shy would-be poet who takes up lodgings with a young man from the upper echelons of society and soon finds love where he least expected it. Just when it seems he is on the cusp of true happiness, James disappears.
     His sister Charlotte, who lives quietly near the crumbling country estate where they grew up, is determined to find out what happened. Charlotte is horrified at what she discovers, but love spurs on her efforts to save her brother from an unthinkable fate. Her quest leads both to the mysterious, centuries-old Aegolius Club, and to a crowded, chaotic neighbourhood where she encounters unforgettable characters, including a female rope-walker turned vigilante and a former slum priest who share a heartbreaking secret, and a young American who chooses decency, or perhaps something more tender, over his own safety. With them, readers are caught up in the breathtaking climax to an ancient battle being fought within a secret world hiding in plain sight, in the middle of the great city of London itself.
     As emotionally gripping as it is suspenseful, The Quick heralds Lauren Owen as a dazzling new literary talent.
LAUREN OWEN studied English Literature at St. Hilda's College, Oxford, before completing an MA in Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia, where she received the 2009 Curtis Brown prize for the best fiction dissertation. The Quick is her first novel. She lives in Durham, England.
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Title:The Quick: A NovelFormat:HardcoverDimensions:544 pages, 9.52 × 6.46 × 1.77 inPublished:October 18, 2016Publisher:McClelland & StewartLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0771068212

ISBN - 13:9780771068218

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Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from A fantastic read!! Some stuff: contains lgbt,kind of, gore, and vampires I adored it - the writing, Charlotte, James, Christopher, the harrowing way the author would describe the methodical torture of Mould's experiments. It had a great sense of gravitas. One thing I will say may put readers off is that the plot jumps around. It begins with Charlotte and James' childhood, moves onto James' life in the city, then onto the 'villain's perspective, then Charlotte in adulthood, then briefly some side character stuff, then back to Charlotte for the remainder of the novel. I didn't find it detrimental, since the writing and characters were still amazing, but I WAS jarred out of it a bit upon the initial switch. But I love vampires, and I adore when vampires are afforded the appropriate horror and tragedy to them without being boggled down by gratuitous romance. The real horror of becoming a vampire, it seems, is not just that you need to do all the scary killing stuff, but becoming a vampire physically forces you into becoming a sociopath. (SPOILER) My favourite parts were the ones where Mould vivisects other vampires, and the way vampires physically suffer with their relation to humans --> they physically feel a predatory instinct to kill prey when they catch it, and it seems almost impossible for them to resist the physical act of killing and hunting. Being around humans flood them with negative energy, and they become overstimulated in the presence of light and crowds, making them actively avoid it. It's torture upon torture upon torture... Anyways, yes, I liked this book a lot, and I hope more people read it.
Date published: 2018-07-17
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Tragic but Satisfying I really enjoyed reading this book and wasn't bothered by the twist one bit. Many people seem to find a problem with it because of some the subject matter but I wouldn't pay much attention to their reviews if it focuses on the novel's inclusion of said matters (a novel should be judged by many characteristics - not by the fact that it has an idea or trope the reader doesn't like in it). If you enjoy Gothic horror or historical fiction in general this is a good book to read. It ended really solidly, even though I would have wished for a happier ending, and it was interesting the entire way through. Again, ignore reviewers that have a problem with the twist as it doesn't take away from the story - in fact, it adds to it because of the jarring feeling you get once things start to change. The plot points are pieced together well and it ends up weirdly satisfying despite the terrible feeling you get at the end (because of a point hinted throughout the novel). I cared about the characters, the writing was decent, and the plot stayed true to how Gothic horror is generally written. I'm glad I came across this book.
Date published: 2016-04-24
Rated 2 out of 5 by from surprised and disappointed if anywhere in the reviews the word VAMPIRES had appeared I would have known not buy this book!
Date published: 2014-07-28
Rated 2 out of 5 by from surprised and disappointed if anywhere in the reviews the word VAMPIRES had appeared I would have known not buy this book!
Date published: 2014-07-28

Editorial Reviews

Named One of the Top 10 Literary Fiction Books of the Season by Publishers Weekly"A suspenseful, gloriously atmospheric first novel, and a feast of gothic storytelling that is impossible to resist." —Kate Atkinson, bestselling author of Life After Life and Case Histories"A sly and glittering addition to the literature of the macabre . . . As soon as you have breathed with relief, much worse horrors begin. It's a skilled, assured performance, and it's hard to believe it is a first novel." —Hilary Mantel, Man Booker Prize-winning author of Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies"Ambitious, elegant, atmospheric and often deeply poignant . . . a seamless blend of Victorian London and rich imagination. A book to savor." —Tana French, bestselling author of In the Woods and Broken Harbor“Make no mistake, The Quick is good reading. . . . Adventure of the first order, firmly rooted in both the tropes of the genre and the skilfully rendered texture of the period . . . driven by sharp storytelling, thought-provoking ideas, and strong characters.” —Globe and Mail“A Victorian Gothic yet supernatural thriller that is at turns gruesome and surprisingly tender, this impressive debut will keep you turning the pages long into the night.” —Chatelaine“Forget Jack the Ripper – it’s the curiously pale aristocratic types you need to beware of in this supernatural Gothic nightmare. . . .  Owen’s stylishly sinister world of betrayal and Lovecraftian monsters will have you sleeping with the lights on.” —O, The Oprah Magazine“The Quick will keep you up at night to find out what happens next – it’s suspenseful, compelling, heartbreaking. . . . An epic story.” —Vancouver Sun“This book thoroughly deserves the huge attention it’s going to get. . . . The Quick is that rare book that reviewers and readers live for: both plot- and character-driven, a stay-up-all-night-reading romp of more than 500 pages that you’ll desperately wish was double that. This is elegant, witty, force-of-nature writing, and Lauren Owen should have a long and illustrious career ahead of her.” —Dallas Morning News“Readers might think they’re about to embark on a highhanded version of the Gothic novel, full of metafictions and literary allusions. These do appear, along with some beautiful language, but by Page 100, when the first neck is about to be bitten, “The Quick” drops its cloak and becomes a good old-fashioned vampire novel. . . . Full of wonderful inventions. . . . What fun.” —New York Times Book Review“The first quarter of this debut novel is a lovely, poetic tale. . . . The last half is entirely bonkers and totally unexpected. Read it with the lights on.” —The New Republic“A thrilling tale . . . This book will give you chills even on a hot day.” —Minneapolis Star Tribune“An intricate, sinister epic . . . an impressive feat . . . Owen proves a master at anticipating readers’ thoughts about future happenings and then crumbling them into dust. Her world building is exceptional, and readers will simultaneously embrace and shrink from the atmosphere’s elegant ghastliness.” —Booklist“Ambitious in both scope and structure. . . . [Owen’s] London is exquisitely detailed.” —Washington Post“Seductive . . . extraordinarily polished. . . . The book’s pleasures include frequent viewpoint shifts that require readers to figure out how each character fits into the story, new riffs on vampire rituals and language, plus several love affairs, most of which are doomed. And there’s plenty of action. . . . [Owen] packs many surprises into her tale, making it a book for readers to lose themselves in.” – Publishers Weekly (starred review) “A gothic blockbuster.” – Independent (UK) “A novel to devour, re-read and recommend.” – The Bookseller “Essential reading.” – You magazine, Mail on Sunday “The book’s energy, its wide reach and rich detail make it a confident example of the ‘unputdownable’ novel.”—The Economist“An elegantly written gothic epic . . . Owen’s soaring imagination and her light-handed take on magic save this story from being either obvious or boring. . . . The journey from one genre to another is satisfying and surprisingly fresh.”—Kirkus Reviews“An intriguing blend of historical, gothic, and supernatural fiction . . . [The Quick features] wonderful atmospheric writing.”—Library Journal