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The Limits of Vision

Author: Robert Irwin

Very funny: it sparkles with brilliance and has a truly superb ending. I confidently predict that there will never be a better novel about housework.

The Fantasy Review

Irwin is an irrepressibly clever writer but never irritating. The book binds together philosophy and mayhem. The Limits of Vision ranks as a genuine (and rare) work of the imagination.

Jeanette Winterson

Weird, hilarious, yet elegantly disciplined, here's a hybrid of satire, fable and reportage. Jaded readers will treasure it.

The Daily Mail

...unique, a ravishing product of pure imagination.

The New Statesman

If a world can be seen in a grain of sand, then surely phobia can be found in a handful of dust, or so contends obsessed British housewife Marcia, as she does endless battle with dandruff, the carapaces of roaches, grease, rust, grit, the whole panoply of household detritus. Terrorized by the imminent arrival of her coffee-morning ladies, she vacuums the carpet, only to be bested by the spirit Mucor, whose Latin name embodies all elements of slime and grime and who tries to entice her into the kingdom of filth over which he rules. To avoid him she enters the dazzling cleanliness of the Pieter de Hooch canvas hanging on her wall, invoking de Hooch and a raft of other geniuses- Darwin, Teilhard de Chardin, Leonardo, Blake, Dostoyevski, even Jesus to assist her. The coffee-morning ladies arrive; she half-listens to their prattle while impatiently waiting for them to leave so she can attack the dishes they have dirtied. Soon her husband, whom she suspects of having an affair with one of the ladies, will come home; how can she defeat Mucor before that moment? The solution is in perfect harmony with this astonishing work of imagination and erudition by a former professor of medieval history.

Publishers Weekly

'This existential struggle with slime-she asks at one point, ""Why am I not a Brillo pad?""-transcends time and place.

Kirkus Reviews

'The Limits of Vision is an immensely intelligent and delightful novel that constantly jumps and turns through level after level of humour and invention. It is a dance of a book...dense with wit and surprise...a great pleasure.'

Stephen Dobyns in The New York Times

'The most ectopic flight of imagination this month and my own Book of the Month choice. With an ending fitted with escape hatches, Irwin makes an hysterical masterpiece. Your next bout of sping cleaning might be a great nightmare.

Ian Parker in Blitz

'What looked like being the straightforward story of a woman obsessed with keeping a clean house morphs into a strange but most original and often very witty parody of life and thought in everyday English suburbia with an ending that you will not have vaguely guessed. As always Robert Irwin produces something different from the norm.'

John Alvey in The Modern Novel

RRP: £8.99

No. of pages: 120

Publication date: 28.01.2022

Re-print date: 28.01.2022

ISBN numbers:
978 1 912868 57 5
978 1 909232 26 6

Rights sold: US (Viking/Penguin then Overlook),
France (Solin),
Germany (Rutten & Loening),
Netherlands (Atlas),
Russia (Symposium then Ripol)