A wry and deeply affecting novel about a man’s ruminations on art and death by the Man Booker Prize-winning author of This Sporting Life Matthew Maddox is an art historian and professor emeritus at the Drayburgh School of Fine Art. Nearing 70, his 3 sons are grown and his ex-wife, Charlotte, has remarried. After a failed suicide attempt in front of a moving train, Maddox attends art therapy classes in order to find new meaning in his life. Although he is isolated, Maddox does have his champions. Simone, his lover and partner, is returning shortly from an analysts’ conference in Vienna. She has her own baggage, but Simone feels responsible for Maddox. Others who genuinely care about Maddox include his former mentor Daniel Viklund, whose wartime past fascinates Maddox; his older sister, Sarah; and his younger brother, Paul. There is also Eric Taylor, once his most promising student, now a convicted murderer, in whom Maddox sees echoes of his own life. An unabashed novel of mental illness, As It Happened tells of the prisons in which we find ourselves, the anxieties that exert their hold, and the desperate search for purpose in how we live and how we die.
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