Author(s): Helen Dunmore
It is 1792 and Europe is seized by political turmoil and violence. Lizzie Fawkes has grown up in Radical circles where each step of the French Revolution is followed with eager idealism. But she has recently married John Diner Tredevant, a property developer who is heavily invested in Bristol's housing boom, and he has everything to lose from social upheaval and the prospect of war. Soon his plans for a magnificent terrace built above the two-hundred-foot drop of the Gorge come under threat. Diner believes that Lizzie's independent, questioning spirit must be coerced and subdued. She belongs to him: law and custom confirm it, and she must live as he wants. In a tense drama of public and private violence, resistance and terror, Diner's passion for Lizzie darkens until she finds herself dangerously alone.
"Like many of Dunmore's novels, Birdcage Walk defies categorisation ... a blend of beauty and horror evoked with such breath-taking poetry that it haunts me still ... she has an extraordinary gift for taking the ordinary and familiar and rendering them new. When Tredevant's growing unpredictability once more tightens the narrative, forcing the story back into the ominous and unsettling territory where it first began, it is easy to see why [Dunmore] has earned a place among the finest writers of historical fiction working today" * Guardian * "A finely wrought psychological thriller... a fitting contribution to Dunmore's extraordinary legacy" * Daily Mail * "This fine, fiery novel will surely be remembered as one of her best." -- Melissa Katsoulis * The Times * "Helen Dunmore's quietly historical novels are among the best fiction of our time" -- Jake Kerridge * Daily Telegraph * "This is the finest novel Helen Dunmore has written." -- Kate Kellaway * Guardian *
Helen Dunmore was an award-winning novelist, children's author and poet who will be remembered for the depth and breadth of her fiction. Rich and intricate, yet narrated with a deceptive simplicity that made all of her work accessible and heartfelt, her writing stood out for the fluidity and lyricism of her prose, and her extraordinary ability to capture the presence of the past. Her first novel, Zennor in Darkness, explored the events which led D. H. Lawrence to be expelled from Cornwall on suspicion of spying, and won the McKitterick Prize. Her third novel, A Spell of Winter, won the inaugural Orange Prize for Fiction in 1996, and she went on to become a Sunday Times bestseller with The Siege, which was described by Antony Beevor as a 'world-class novel' and was shortlisted for the Whitbread Novel of the Year and the Orange Prize. Published in 2010, her eleventh novel, The Betrayal, was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize and shortlisted for the Orwell Prize and the Commonwealth Writers Prize, and The Lie in 2014 was shortlisted for the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction and the 2015 RSL Ondaatje Prize. Her final novel, Birdcage Walk, deals with legacy and recognition - what writers, especially women writers, can expect to leave behind them - and was described by the Observer as 'the finest novel Helen Dunmore has written'. Helen was known to be an inspirational and generous author, championing emerging voices and other established authors. She also gave a large amount of her time to supporting literature, independent bookshops all over the UK, and arts organisations across the world. She died in June 2017.