9780312186586 / 0312186584

The Red Hat


Publisher:St. Martin's Press



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About the book:

The Red Hat in question in John Bayley's novel is the headgear worn by a young woman in a Vermeer masterpiece; it is also the McGuffin that gets the plot rolling. At the center of Bayley's tale is Nancy Deverell, a rather androgynous young woman who travels from London to the Netherlands with two friends to view the Vermeer exhibition. Nancy's companions are Charles, a gay man, and Chloe, Nancy's best friend and Charles's fiancée. Once at the exhibition, Nancy realizes she could be the twin of the woman in Vermeer's Girl in a Red Hat. Before you can say chapeau, Nancy finds herself involved with a mysterious stranger who might be a secret agent or possibly a bellboy and up to her neck in kidnapping, terrorism, and murder--or maybe not. Bayley, a leading British critic, plays an energetic literary shell game with his characters which may have fans of postmodern fiction clamoring for more.

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