The HarlequinNina Allan
Winner of the Novella Award 2015.
The armistice is months past but the memories won’t go away.
‘A harlequin, leaning against a tree stump and with a goblet of ale clasped in one outstretched hand. Beaumont felt chilled suddenly, in spite of the fire... Most likely it was the thing’s mouth, red-lipped and fiendishly grinning, or maybe its face, which was white, expressionless, the face of a clown in full greasepaint.’
Dennis Beaumont drove an ambulance in World War One. He returns home to London, hoping to pick up his studies at Oxford and rediscover the love he once felt for his fiancée Lucy. But nothing is as it once was. Mentally scarred by his experiences in the trenches, Beaumont finds himself wandering further into darkness. What really happened to the injured soldier he tried to save? Who is the figure that lurks in the shadows? How much do they know of Beaumont, and the secrets he keeps?
‘The Harlequin had me hooked from the very first line and continues to shift and haunt long after reading.’ - Alison Moore
‘The Harlequin evokes a particular time and place with impressive confidence and assuredness. Nina Allan clearly understands that a novella is neither a long short story nor a short novel, but something distinct. An outstanding, resonant piece of work.’ - Nicholas Royle
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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