Set in the world of contemporary art, Guy Kennaway’s new novel delivers his trademark absurdities and laugh out loud moments.
As the globe’s most successful super-dealer, Herman Gertsch spent his charmed life jettiing between his galleries in Zurich, London and New York, fawned over by artists, curators, politicians and the uber-rich.
As Herman’s empire grew, nothing seemed to get in his way, until he made the calamitous decision to open a gallery in a rural English backwater. Here, Herman encountered John ‘Brother’ Burn, a penniless hippy known as the slipperiest man in south Somerset, and therefore the western hemisphere.
In the riotous comedy of errors that follows, Kennaway pours mistaken identity, Amazonian tribesmen, Swiss food, DMT, Arab Royalty, million dollar paintings and worthless tat onto a spin painting of a story that dazzles with surprises and leaves you feeling reassuringly warm about art and life.
Guy Kennaway lives for pleasure, producing books to add to the gaiety of the nation. In all of Kennaway’s work he likes to champion the underdog. He searches out communities under pressure and celebrates their struggles by having a good laugh with them. He is best known for One People about a Jamaican village threatened my mass US tourism, Bird Brain about a community of optimistic pheasants and Time to Go, the funniest book about assisted suicide ever.
Publication 11 March 2021
A genuine letter from a genuine fan!
I have just read “The Accidental Collector” by Guy Kennaway. It is social comedy of the most accomplished kind – and the long overdue novel about the art scene we have all been waiting for since the early nineties. Touches of a roman a clef, from someone who clearly knows the milieu, but I laughed out loud throughout. A great crime caper as well.
Guy Kennaway is in my opinion the essential comic writer of our time. “Bird Brain” – in which a charmless upper-class shooting enthusiast is re-incarnated as a pheasant – is perhaps the most under-rated novel of recent years. Again, laugh-out-loud funny, and a crime caper, but a superb social comedy about the social hierarchies, loves, betrayals and aspirations of humans, dogs and pheasants.
His non-fiction is similarly always hilarious, but self-aware and brutally honest – and moving as well.