Francis King

Border Trouble

Charlie Johnson In The Flames

By

Chatto & Windus 150pp £12.99 order from our bookshop

AT FIRST, THE pivot of this short, bare novel seems to be an obsessive desire for revenge. But its protagonist, a veteran journalist, eventually decides that what motivates him is something far more complex. What Charlie Johnson is pursuing is ‘Not vengeance, just a reckoning’. He wants his intended murder victim, a Serbian colonel, to understand ‘what it actually really means to snuff someone else out’. Johnson himself also wishes to acquire this understanding – ‘so that the distinctions, the clarity, that life requires would be restored’.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • 'Ideas that I’d thought were set down in full continue to smoulder ... this book is only a snapshot of some larger… ,
    • 'Full of invention which, at its most pedestrian, is eminently Victorian, and at its most unrestrained wildly imagi… ,
    • 'What in other hands could have been a dry, pedantic account of Christianity’s birth and evolution becomes in Holla… ,
    • RT : One of my favourite literary magazines is celebrating 40 years this year. Here is the September edition of… ,
    • 'Now that the Thames is too fast-flowing to freeze, its spirit’s devotees ... have found other climes for their pri… ,
    • 'Bythell glowers past his till at a world in slow free fall.' on the travails of a second-hand book… ,
    • 'It is a scent of animal wrath, of instinctive need, of brutal life which affects the cultured nostrils of our civi… ,