Something to Answer For


It was 1956 and he was in Port Said. About these two facts Townrow was reasonably certain. He had been summoned there, to Egypt, by the widow of his deceased friend, Elie Khoury. Having been found dead in the street, she is convinced he was murdered, but nobody seems to agree with her. What of Leah Strauss, the mistress? And of the invading British paratroops? Only an Englishman, surely, would take for granted that the British would have behaved themselves. In this weirdly disorientating world, Townrow is forced towards a re-examination of the basic rules by which he has been living his life; and into a realization that he too may have something to answer for.

Winner of the inaugural Booker Prize in 1969.

P. H. Newby Book Cover P. H. Newby Book CoverP. H. Newby Book Cover

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Mr Newby has a touch of the bizarre, and a pleasing comic seriousness.
-- Isabel Quigley in the Financial Times

The liking for jagged action, for freakish situations and flurries of irrational violence—these betray the hand of an individual and almost alarmingly skilled novelist
-- Pat Rogers in the Observer

The simple fact is that I thoroughly enjoyed it. It's beautifully written, shot through with crisp, mordant wit, and Newby plays out his narrative with consummate skill to ensure it baffles and intrigues, leaving the readers hooked and thrashing about for meaning, desperate for him to reel things in
-- Sam Jordison, Guardian Unlimited Blog, November 2007