I’ve been reading the manuscript of Glen Duncan’s latest novel “A Day and a Night and a Day”.

What has struck me, apart from the distillation of his style down to its essence, is his ability to unflinchingly describe the darkest and most tragic situations in a way that is often positively thought provoking and sometimes inspiring. He shares that quality with Cormac McCarthy I think. I’ve made my compromises and generally regret them so I’m always impressed by artistic integrity – and Glen’s never gone for the easy option, even when it’s there begging on a plate. I remember with ‘I, Lucifer’, that it was intended to be knocked off in three months as a commercial ruse to get him ‘out of a hole’ – but he just couldn’t help himself and it became a thoughtful, literary work (perhaps to the chagrin of his publisher) as well as a rather cracking yarn.

This book is political – or at least, topical. I was initially concerned about that when he told me – I mean it’s easy to get that sort of thing very wrong  – but reading it has revealed it as not only a brave move but a masterly one. I think it will do very well – possibly not commercially (although who knows?) but hopefully in terms of a prize. It’s that good. And, despite all the darkness, honesty and intensity,  a very enjoyable read.

But I’ve known Glen most of my life. We became friends in a provincial town early on – not least because it never really felt like home. We were in-situ cultural refugees so to speak and we’ve been egging each other on ever since. By the way, in case this all sounds horribly back-slapping and self-congratulatory, you should know that l could tell you the most terrible things about him and he’s definately seen me at my shameful worst.

Anyway, the book will be published in the new year – first in the US and then in England. I don’t really read fiction and of course I’m partisan,  so make up your own mind. But don’t say I didn’t tell you..