High Dive: A Novel
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“Devastating . . . Inspired . . . We make so many complex emotional investments in the lives of Lee’s characters that it takes a monk’s restraint not to flip to the very end of the book before you get there.” —Jennifer Senior, New York Times
In September 1984, a bomb was planted at the Grand Hotel in the seaside town of Brighton, England, set to explode in twenty-four days when the British prime minister and her entire cabinet would be staying there. High Dive not only takes us inside this audacious assassination attempt—a decisive act of violence on the world stage—but also imagines its way into a group of unforgettable characters. Nimbly weaving together fact and fiction, comedy and tragedy, the story switches among the perspectives of Dan, a young IRA explosives expert; Moose, a former star athlete gone to seed, who is now the deputy hotel manager; and Freya, his teenage daughter, trying to decide what comes after high school. Over the course of a mere four weeks, as the prime minister’s arrival draws closer, each of their lives will be transformed forever.
A bold, astonishingly intimate novel of laughter and heartbreak, High Dive is a moving portrait of clashing loyalties, guilt and regret, and how individuals become the grist of history.
the hotel’s staff. Speculation about a second bomber has also been fuelled by suggestions made by Magee and his counsel that fingerprints found on the hotel registration card – evidence used to identify him as ‘Roy Walsh’, the man who checked in – could not in fact have been his. Several IRA members have faced convictions in relation to elements of the Grand Hotel plot, but the second bomber in room 629, if there was one, appears never to have been found. This book is a work of fiction. The
throw. Dan was screaming ‘Pots! Pots! Pots!’ and like magic windows were opening all down the street. Colum must have lobbed another bottle high – Dan could see it coming down almost at a vertical – and paint exploded over the roof of a Saracen. A precision hit. He’d got Colum all wrong. Loved the man in this moment. Loved him. Catholic women were leaning out of windows banging pots and pans. The whole street waking up and making noise, ensuring others rose and joined. Don’t let these men rip our
his return? Her mother, when she could be bothered, had been a good cook too. He longed for a chocolate fudge sundae but it was completely out of the question. He tried now to remind himself of that first year back in Brighton, him and a motherless teenage daughter returning to the secondary school she’d left behind. But all he could really remember was the incredible amount of little jobs to do, the lifts to and from school and swimming practice and netball and friends’ houses at the weekend
aspirin?’ ‘A doctor?’ ‘A florist?’ Smell of fresh coffee in the morning. Tea and cakes come afternoon. Toothbrush sets behind the desk. Hundreds upon hundreds of condoms. Knot cufflinks by the dozen. People were very regular in what they overlooked, and also in what they left behind: pyjamas, handcuffs, once a prosthetic leg. Moose was a secular man. He would have liked to remove the Bibles from the rooms, or else to add copies of the Koran, but they were hugely popular among the summer staff
and walls were drained of natural light and weather. Everything was bland and artificial, free of the unsettling effects of events. The darkened window glass offered only reflection now. Here he was, in a place of temporary safety, soon to know if his wiring had worked, and what the fuck was he doing? He put down enough cash to cover the bill and a large tip. He rushed outside. She was in the street. He saw the dress first, then the hair. The hair was moving in the wind and she was trying to