PUBLISHERS OF LITERARY FICTION SINCE 1983
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.
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.
Weird, hilarious, yet elegantly disciplined, here's a hybrid of satire, fable and reportage. Jaded readers will treasure it.
...unique, a ravishing product of pure imagination.
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.
'This existential struggle with slime-she asks at one point, ""Why am I not a Brillo pad?""-transcends time and place.
'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.'
'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.
'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.'
No. of pages: 120
Publication date: 28.01.2022
Re-print date: 28.01.2022
978 1 912868 57 5
978 1 909232 26 6
Rights sold: US (Viking/Penguin then Overlook),
Germany (Rutten & Loening),
Russia (Symposium then Ripol)