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Head of Zeus
The Jewel
The Jewel Neil Hegarty

'Striking ... Hegarty has gifted us a vital book for our time. Bathed in light, seeped in colour; it is full of the act of being mortal – in a landscape that is – slowly, finally – finding what it means to be human' IRISH TIMES.

A surprising and ambitious work of fiction centred on the art world, featuring an artist who has become an art thief, an obsessive curator and a specialist in major art thefts. Their stories intersect with the fate of a legendary work by a tragic Victorian woman artist who painted the picture as a kind of funeral dress, using the notoriously fragile distemper technique.

At the heart of this moving and unusual novel is a strange painting by a woman who committed suicide rather than live with neglect and pain. Her final glowingly beautiful work was painted with a technique more usual for posters and banners, and not designed to last. She intended it as her shroud. It hangs in a Dublin gallery, and it is desired by a collector who is willing to pay to have it stolen. The thief is a disillusioned, corrupted London artist coping with tragic loss. The curator of the painting is a lonely gallerist whose life centres on her work. And the man charged with recovering the stolen painting is a gay man trapped in an abusive relationship.

The lives of these three damaged people, each evoked with a calm, moving sympathy reminiscent of Michael Cunningham or David Park, come together around the hauntingly strange Victorian painting. Set in London, Dublin, Northern Ireland and various European capitals, The Jewel is a major new novel from an Irish writer coming into his own.

'Irish author Neil Hegarty proves again that he is one to watch ... Hegarty writes with sharp intelligence, which coupled with his strong storytelling and well-defined characters, results in a gripping plot that also offers an affecting insight into how artifice permeates our lives' OBSERVER.

'Neil Hegarty's rich and intriguing second novel starts off in the realm of Victorian pastiche but ends up as a gripping present-day heist plot ... [Hegarty] gives himself lots to juggle but manages with aplomb, setting the wounded trio at the book's heart on a grimly compelling collision course' DAILY MAIL.

Head of Zeus * Fiction
03 Oct 2019 * 368pp * £4.99 * 9781789541793
REVIEWS
'Neil Hegarty's rich and intriguing second novel starts off in the realm of Victorian pastiche but ends up as a gripping present-day heist plot ... [Hegarty] gives himself lots to juggle but manages with aplomb, setting the wounded trio at the book's heart on a grimly compelling collision course'
Daily Mail
'Striking ... Hegarty has gifted us a vital book for our time. Bathed in light, seeped in colour; it is full of the act of being mortal – in a landscape that is – slowly, finally – finding what it means to be human'
Irish Times
'Irish author Neil Hegarty proves again that he is one to watch ... Hegarty writes with sharp intelligence, which coupled with his strong storytelling and well-defined characters, results in a gripping plot that also offers an affecting insight into how artifice permeates our lives'
Observer
'Dazzling, raw and moving ... The writing is lyrical and poetic – some paragraphs are so exquisite as to feel almost ethereal'
Irish Times
'Hegarty is adept at conjuring the texture of relationships ...The plot, as these three lives elide, is very much secondary to their particular histories and quirks. Hergarty has created a strange, unsettling novel that is, in its quiet way, a jewel'
Spectator
'[Hegarty] has a knack for navigating complex emotional territory with skill and sensitivity'
Mail on Sunday
'An original plot and characters ensures this book will stay with you long after you've turned the last page'
Sunday Post
'A beautifully written meditation on identity and grief, longing and loss, and the indelible colours childhood leaves on us all, The Jewel is one of this year's gems'
Irish Independent
'[Hegarty] crafts a hugely satisfying set of character studies, lost romances, bitter compromises and uneasy alliances, in the setting of a gripping gallery heist. A classy outing finding other dimensions to Hegarty's bothering perceptions of what makes us all tick'
Belfast Telegraph
'A novel that bobs and weaves in quite an individualistic way and the quality of the writing from Hegarty [...] is consistently strong in expressing the yearning in the lives of these characters'
Irish Examiner
'Skilful and frequently evocative powers of description. The Jewel also displays a fine ear for dialogue, along with a good eye for the workings of relationships, especially when things go awry'
Dublin Review of Books
Author

Neil Hegarty

Neil Hegarty
Neil Hegarty was born in Derry and studied English at Trinity College Dublin. He is the author of the official biography of David Frost and of the acclaimed novel Inch Levels (Head of Zeus 2016), which will be published by Gallimard in France in 2019.
ALSO BY Neil Hegarty
Inch Levels
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