On Torquemada's Sofa
Detoxing in an Edwardian mansion in Wiltshire, ten very different characters reveal what led them there, as the Green Group meets for its afternoon session. But this encounter is to be altogether unlike any before… Laurence Fleming illuminates a world of vulnerability and self-delusion, but one also of struggle and humanity. Unflinching, but humorous and beautifully paced, On Torquemada's Sofa marks a remarkable return to fiction from a writer of great talent.
Laurence Fleming's first novel, A Diet of Crumbs, was published in 1959, selected from a competition judged by a panel that included Nancy Mitford and Angus Wilson. Born in Assam, his varied career started with the Cambridge Footlights, and took him on, alongside writing, to highly successful work as an artist and garden designer. He is author of the bestselling The English Garden, which accompanied the popular ITV series, and biographer of the influential Brazilian artist and landscape gardener Roberto Burle Marx, a long-time friend and mentor (Roberto Burle Marx: A Portrait, 1996). He is also author of The One Hour Garden (1985), Old English Villages (1986), and compiler of Last Children of the Raj (2004).
Dudley is quite silent. Poor old boy. He must have been incredibly handsome when he was young. For a moment one could see it, the glorious young officer swinging through the trees of the Burmese jungle. Or whatever they did. Now he's just a tired and sad old man almost indistinguishable from his thick-knit oatmeal pullover. He must be boiled. And all because he told us something he has probably never told anyone before. -