Nominated by:

Cork City Libraries, Ireland

Waterford County Library, Ireland

National Library of Estonia, Tallinn

Publisher of nominated edition:

Sceptre, UK

Pure

Andrew Miller    

 2013 Shortlist

Paris, 1785. A year of bone, of grave-dirt, relentless work. Of mummified corpses and chanting priests. A year of rape, suicide, sudden death. Of friendship too. Of desire. Of love… A year unlike any other he has lived.

Deep in the heart of Paris, its oldest cemetery is, by 1785, overflowing, tainting the very breath of those who live nearby. Into their midst comes Jean-Baptiste Baratte, a young provincial engineer charged by the king with demolishing it.

At first Baratte sees this as a chance to clear the burden of history, a fitting task for a modern man of reason. But before long, he begins to suspect that the destruction of the cemetery might be a prelude to his own.

(From Publisher)

 About the Author

Andrew Miller was born in Bristol in 1960. He has lived in Spain, Japan, France and Ireland, and currently lives in Somerset.

His first novel, Ingenious Pain, was published by Sceptre in 1997 and was immediately acclaimed as the debut of an outstanding new writer. It won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, and the Grinzane Cavour Prize in Italy. He has since written four novels: Casanova, Oxygen, which was shortlisted for the Whitebread Novel of the Year Award and the Booker Prize in 2001, The Optimists, and One Morning Like A Bird.

Librarian’s Comments

Pure brings Paris in 1785 to life, makes us feel like we were actually there. Very atmospheric, beautifully written and captivating.

Rooted in the stunning pre-revolutionary Paris of 1798, Pure is not just an historical novel with reference to the present, it is about the beauty of the ordinary and how to live one’s life with integrity. A charming and elegant novel.

Honed and unadorned prose, which vividly and without distracting artifice, illuminates the period while simultaneously being entertaining and thoughtful.

Related Entries