Martin Newland is fascinated by the nature of time. Watches and clocks are for him metaphorical time machines, a secret means of coming to terms with his clouded past and voyaging forward into the future. But was his first timepiece a Smith, given to him on his fourteenth birthday, or the Longines he received as a present four years later? Was it the small brass travelling clock unearthed in a run-down house for which he is to act as estate agent? Who is the maker of these time machines? Clues abound but contradict each other: was it an ex-seaside circus performer, or a ‘miracle dwarf’ engaged in a government project to subvert the course of time into parallel realities? As Martin pursues these mysteries, is he haunted by the spirit of his dead brother, or by the death of his beloved sister? The answer to all these questions is yes.
A complication is the description a watch-maker gives to any extra feature added to a clock or watch that goes beyond the simple display of time, and The Silver Wind is a book of complications. Nina Allan has constructed a remarkable and original narrative in which five separate segments of story interlock and interweave like the perfectly honed cogs of a watch mechanism. Time, memory, love, hope and regret all complicate Martin’s quest for the truth. In the implied spaces and overlaps between these five moments in time the reader is granted a mysteriously enriching vision of the everyday world.
Nina Allan was born in Whitechapel, London, grew up in the Midlands and West Sussex, and studied Russian literature at the University of Exeter and Corpus Christi College, Oxford. She wrote her first short story at the age of six. Recurring obsessions include old clocks and rare insects, forgotten manuscripts and abandoned houses. Writers who have inspired and continue to inspire her include among many others Vladimir Nabokov, Iris Murdoch, Joyce Carol Oates, Paul Auster, J. G Ballard, Roberto Bolano, M. John Harrison and of course Christopher Priest, her partner and first reader. They live and work in the historic seaside town of Hastings, East Sussex.
Nina's stories have appeared regularly in premier British ... (more)