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About the book
  • Published: 20 March 2014
  • ISBN: 9781448182343
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 208
Categories:

Other People's Countries

A Journey into Memory




A very special book of short, Proustian pieces on childhood and how the places of our childhood are embedded in us.



Winner of the 2014 Duff Cooper Prize

Winner of the 2015 Welsh Book of the Year Award

Shortlisted for the 2015 James Tait Black Memorial Prize

Shortlisted for the 2015 PEN Ackerley prize

Longlisted for the 2014 Thwaites Wainwright Prize

Winner of the 2014 Duff Cooper Prize
Winner of the 2015 Welsh Book of the Year Award
Shortlisted for the 2015 James Tait Black Memorial Prize
Shortlisted for the 2015 PEN Ackerley prize
Longlisted for the 2014 Thwaites Wainwright Prize

Let me take you down the thin cobblestoned streets of the Belgian border town of Bouillon. Let me take you down the alleys that lead into its past. To a town peopled with eccentrics, full of charm, menace and wonder. To the days before television, to Marie Bodard’s sweetshop, to the Nazi occupation and unexpected collaborators. To a place where one neighbour murders another over the misfortune of pigs and potatoes. To the hotel where the French poet Verlaine his lover Rimbaud, holed up whilst on the run from family, creditors and the law.


This exquisite meditation on place, time and memory is an illicit peek into other people’s countries, into the spaces they have populated with their memories, and might just make you revisit your own in a new and surprising way.

  • Pub date: 20 March 2014
  • ISBN: 9781448182343
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 208

About the Author

Patrick McGuinness

Born in Tunisia in 1968, Patrick McGuinness is the author of one previous novel, The Last Hundred Days, which was longlisted for the 2011 Man Booker Prize, shortlisted for the 2011 Costa First Novel Award and won the 2012 Wales Book of the Year Award. His other books include two collections of poems, The Canals of Mars (2004), and Jilted City (2010), and Other People’s Countries (2015), which won the Duff Cooper Prize and was the Wales Book of the Year. He is a Fellow of St Anne’s College, Oxford, where he lectures in French.

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Praise for Other People's Countries

“McGuinness is a marvellous writer... On every page there are breathtakingly gorgeous images, similes, metaphors.”

John Banville, Observer

“McGuinness has written the great book on Belgium and modern memory, or even Belgium and modern being. He takes his place among those singers and painters of the haunted, the melancholy, the diminished, the caricatural, the humdrum.”

Michael Hofmann, Guardian

“Lyrical and evocative... This is a very Proustian memoir, whose effect will be to drive the reader into contemplation of their own half-forgotten childhood home.”

Josh Glancy, Sunday Times

“A rich analysis of home and homelessness.”

James Wood, London Review of Books

“This book had a powerful effect on me... Sometimes hilarious, sometimes freighted with tragedy.”

Gillian Tindall, Literary Review

“For Patrick McGuinness memories are electrical storms of the mind.”

James Carson, Skinny

“[McGuinness] is the best advocate for Belgium since Poirot and Tintin... Fascinating, charming, poignant.”

Sean O'Brien, Independent

“Beautifully paced… Rich and unforced.”

Sunday Telegraph

“An unusual and striking foray into the past... Powerful universal observations.”

Rosie Hopegood, The Skinny

“McGuinness’s prose trembles on the edge of poetry, occasionally indeed tipping gently over into it… Spellbinding… Beautifully written.”

Wynn Wheldon, Spectator

“Lyrical and episodic… A haunting memoir”

Good Book Guide


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