ALIX NATHAN – ‘The Warlow Experiment’
In Conversation with David Howard
Wednesday 17th July 7.30pm
at URC Hall, Hight Street, Church Stretton, SY6 6BY
Tickets £5 from Burway Books
Alix Nathan was born in London and educated there and at York University where she read English and Music. She has lived in Norwich, Munich, Philadelphia, Birkenhead and now in the Welsh Marches where, with her husband, she owns some ancient woodland. She has published three children’s books and written about Christina Rossetti and the 18th century writer and notorious beauty Mary Robinson. Her short stories have been published in Ambit, The London Magazine, New Welsh Review and read on BBC Radio Four. Since 2006 she has been writing adult fiction, both contemporary and historical.
We look forward to welcoming Alix, who will be ‘in conversation’ with David Howard, chatting about her brilliant new novel, ‘The Warlow Experiment’ and about her writing.
Author photo copyright Jan Klos
‘The Warlow Experiment’
What kind of person keeps a man underground for seven years? And who would agree to be part of such an experiment?
The year is 1792 and Herbert Powyss is set on making his name as a scientist. He is determined to study the effects of prolonged solitude on another human being, though before now Powyss’s sole subjects have been the plants in his greenhouse. He fills three rooms beneath Moreham House with books, paintings and even a pianoforte, then puts out an advertisement, hoping for a gentleman recluse to claim the substantial reward.
The only man desperate enough to apply is John Warlow, a semi-literate farm labourer who needs to support his wife Hannah and their six children. Cut off from nature and the turning of the seasons, Warlow soon begins losing his grip on sanity. Above ground, Powyss finds yet another distraction from his greenhouse in the form of Hannah, with whom he rapidly becomes obsessed. Does she return his feelings, or is she just afraid of his power over her family’s lives?
Meanwhile, the servants are brewing up a rebellion inspired by recent news from across the Channel. Powyss may have set events in motion, but he is powerless to prevent their explosive and devastating conclusion.
The book is being read in ten episodes on Radio Four’s Book at Bedtime from the 22nd of July!