In a forgotten spa town snug in the Alps, at the end of the 20th century, Haffner is seeking a cure, more women, and a villa that belonged to his late wife. But really he is trying to escape: from his family, his lovers, his history, his entire Haffnerian condition.
For Haffner is 78. Haffner, in other words, is too old to be grown up.
What the Critics Say
"A novel where the humour is melancholic, the melancholy mischievous and the talent startling"
"In The Escape, you can practically see Bellow's Augie March, Roth's Mickey Sabbath and Martin Amis's John Self applauding, ghost-like, from the margins... The novel fizzes with intelligence, verbal skill and humour"
(Simon Baker, Observer)
"Beautifully written, poignant and clever... Thirlwell has a genuinely unique insight into humankind"
"The Escape is one of the best British novels I've read this year for one reason; Thirlwell's prose. At once effervescent and elegant, his narrative voice lifts the novel's lecherous comedy beyond the sublunary lovers' antics into a more rarefied sphere" (Sarah Churchwell, Guardian)