> Skip to content
About the book
  • Published: 15 August 2010
  • ISBN: 9780099539834
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 336
  • RRP: $19.99

The Escape

Formats & editions

Remarkable second novel by the author of the highly-praised and controversial Politics

Haffner is charming, morally suspect, sexually omnivorous, vain. There are so many stories of Haffner: but this, the most secret, is the greatest of them all.
In a forgotten spa town snug in the Alps, the 78-year-old Haffner is seeking a cure, redress, more women; and ignoring the will of his late wife. He is there to reclaim her villa, lost during the war, which Haffner will discover he would like very much to own.
Harried by his family, pursued by his women, menaced by bureaucrats, negotiating with the mafia, riven by his memory of the dead and of the missing, Haffner tries to orchestrate his final escape.

  • Pub date: 15 August 2010
  • ISBN: 9780099539834
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 336
  • RRP: $19.99

About the Author

Adam Thirlwell

Adam Thirlwell is the author of two novels, Politics and The Escape; a novella, Kapow!; and a project including an essay-book – which won a Somerset Maugham Award – and a compendium of translations edited for McSweeney’s. His work is translated into thirty languages. He has twice been selected as one of Granta’s Best of Young British Novelists.

Also by Adam Thirlwell

See all

Praise for The Escape

“A novel where the humour is melancholic, the melancholy mischievous and the talent startling”

Milan Kundera

“Thirlwell's prose is witty and engaging, erudite but fleet and sinuous; the questions he asks are lightly posed, his mock grandeur dispersing in a sea of ridiculous incident and comic undercutting”

The Times Literary Supplement

“Beautifully written, poignant and clever... Thirlwell has a genuinely unique insight into humankind”

The Times

“One of the best British novels I've read this year for one reason: Thirwell's prose...at once effervescent and elegant, his narrative voice lifts the novel's lecherous comedy beyond the sublunary lovers' antics into a more rarefied sphere”


“Adam Thirlwell is back to form with his second novel... a very human writer”

Literary Review

“The narrative develops a sense of authenticity that is persuasive enough not to be disturbed, even by the inevitable adventurous sex scene”

Jane Shilling, Sunday Telegraph

“The Escape is an utterly glorious piece of work...Thirlwell has with this superb book also staked a rightful claim as a literary phenomenon”

The Lady

“The novel fizzes with intelligence, verbal skill and humour; the sex scenes are funny, sometimes immensely so”


“Fizzes with intelligence, verbal skill and humour”

Simon Baker, Observer

“Thirwell's novel elegantly portrays the ageing Haffner's thrilling attempts to escape from lovers, the mafia, his family and himself.”


“The writing is polished and full of allusions.”

Brandon Robshaw, Independent on Sunday

“Thirlwell's prose displays great erudition...”


Related titles