Paperback / softback
Set in an unspecified but eerily familiar landscape, Guilty is, unusually for Kavan, told from a male perspective. The narrator is Mark, who begins the novel as a young boy whose father has just returned from war. In spite of being garlanded as a hero, Mark's father declares himself a pacifist and is immediately reviled in a country still suffering from the divisions of war. When his father is forced into exile, Mark meets Mr. Spector, a shady government agent, who, from then on, is a dominant force in Mark's life, seeing him through his schooling, employment and even his accommodation. When Mark tries to break off with Mr. Spector in order to pursue an engagement with the beautiful but docile Carla, his life begins to unravel. Thwarted at every turn by a Kafakaesque bureaucracy, he begins to fall prey to the machinations and insecurities of his guilt-ridden mind. Drawing on many of Kavan's familiar themes, Guilty will a be joy for those who already know Kavan's work and a revelation to those who don't.