Observer Book of the Year 2014
Lewis Sullivan, an RE teacher at a secondary school, was approaching retirement when he wondered for the first time whether he ought to have chosen a more dramatic career. He lives in a village in the Midlands, less than a mile from the house in which he grew up. He always imagined living by the sea. His grown-up daughter visits every day, bringing soup. He does not want soup. He frequents his second-favourite pub, where he can get half a shandy, a speciality sausage and a bit of company.
But when a childhood friend appears on the scene, Lewis finds his life and comfortable routine shaken up.
In Moore’s inimitable, haunting style, this seemingly simple but in fact multi-layered narrative unfolds with compelling assurance. Moving between Lewis’s current life of cosy habit, his memories of childhood, and his aged father agitating away in a nursing home, plot twists thicken and weave with stealthily increasing tension. Always unexpected, sparely written and beautifully crafted, He Wants deftly dissects the themes of loneliness, anxiety, the weight of recollection and the complex nature of friendship and family ties. A surprising, lingering and intensely moving tale which reflects the prodigious talent of one of our most exciting novelists.