The Last Kings of Sark
Jude is twenty-one when she flies in a private plane to Sark, a tiny carless Channel Island, the last place in Europe to abolish feudalism. She has been hired for the summer to give tuition to a rich local boy called Pip. But when she arrives, the family is unsettling - Pip is awkward, over-literal, and adamant he doesn't need a tutor, and upstairs, his enigmatic mother Esmé casts a shadow over the house.
Enter Sofi: the family's holiday cook, a magnetic, mercurial Polish girl with appalling kitchen hygiene, who sings to herself and sleeps naked. When the father of the family goes away on business, Pip's science lessons are replaced by midday rosé and scallop-smuggling, and summer begins. Soon something surprising starts to touch the three together.
But those strange, golden weeks cannot last forever. Later, in Paris, Normandy and London, they find themselves looking for the moment that changed everything.
Compelling, dark and funny, The Last Kings of Sark is tale of complicated love, only children and missed opportunities, from an extraordinary new writer.
The audio rights are handled by Alice Lutyens.
[An] enthralling debut full of deep, unshakable bonds, twists of fate, and the power of nostalgia.Booklist
[A] lithe, shimmering novel . . . Its primary action, which takes place in a few transformative summer weeks in the lives of three young people on the remote Channel island of Sark, holds irresistible tension . . . The idyll ends explosively, but also with extreme tenderness . . . In the strong sensuality, witty dialogue and white-heat-forged friendships there is some similarity to Geoff Dyer's 90s classic Paris Trance. Rankin-Gee won legendary bookshop Shakespeare and Company's international Paris literary prize for a version of this book, and it is suffused throughout with love for that city.Guardian
Three lonely only children are forced into a peculiar intimacy, and when the summer is over, the narrative changes and fragments, showing the aftershocks of one particular night. This is a stunningly well-written first novel.
Funny, vivid, bittersweet . . . I hugely enjoyed it.