The Posthumous Affair

by James Friel


“a devastating and illuminating exploration of love and grief.”
– Grace Dane Mazur

ISBN: 978-1-936797-01-1 Categories: ,

In the late nineteenth century, in Washington Square, two children play with a red balloon… and so begins the strange romance between Daniel, beautiful and tiny, and Grace, known as The Fat Princess, an orphaned girl whose enormous girth matches her wealth. Each wishes for a life of the mind, for artistic mastery, to be read and to be understood — most of all by each other — but through their lives, the couple only occasionally meet, until Daniel uncovers Grace’s great secret in her House of Death.

“a devastating and illuminating exploration of love and grief, opens in late nineteenth-century New York and ends in a Venice that is mysterious, decaying, and gloomily beautiful. Friel has the brilliance of The Master, with none of James’s obscurity. Instead, this is heavily sensual work—sometimes humorous and wild, sometimes contemplative, and very often peculiar. All the way through, the novel is so lucid, and reveals such deep understanding of the emotions, that it presents to us an astonishing new form of erotic love.”
— Grace Dane Mazur

This was a gaudy night.

It was so bold.

Women were dressed in indigo, in cherry, in azure and bronze, in radiant whites and emeralds. Even the orchestra played from tinted sheet music, and the sounds they made might also have been colored and jasmine scented.

Who would have expected such luster, such glare, from so reclusive a family? The shy Miss Coopers and their lumpy niece, rumored to be enormous and beyond plain, had hidden themselves so long in the dark, but, look, they were evidently capable of light.

Why had they deprived society of such rich brilliance for so very long?

Why dazzle it now?

The reason was Grace. Miss Cooper Glass was to be launched into society and in the grandest manner. Much effort had been made to ensure she did not sink.

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jfriel225James Friel was born in the northwest of England to Irish parents from Donegal, his mother a native Gaelic speaker. In addition to four previous novels, he has adapted works of fiction for radio, including Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Remains of the Day and A Pale View of Hills, William Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying, and Orhan Pamuk’s Snow. He is Programme Leader for the M.A. and Ph.D. in Writing at Liverpool’s John Moores University, and he is Visiting Writer at L. Universite de Rouen, France.

“This book, a perfect gem where everything fits, is enthralling, poignant, and brimming with meaning.”— Olive Mullet, NewPages

“I thoroughly enjoyed this book, devouring it in a single sitting. Like his previous novel, The Higher Realm, Friel shows sensitivity to society’s outsiders and imbues the story with a sense of the macabre. Henry James is a strong influence in this novel and with the central theme of unrequited love I couldn’t help thinking about Colm Toibin’s characterization of the chaste and lonely James in his bio-novel, The Master.”— Justine Solomon’s Byte the Book