The Auctioneer was my first novel. It was published in London by Fourth Estate in 1999.
On a summer’s night in Sydney, a young man crosses a swimming pool and catches sight of the woman of his dreams. Seven years later, an older Finn Causley is sitting in a cluttered mill in England, compiling a catalogue of significant things while Hen, the mother of his child, succumbs to a mysterious disease of euphoric forgetfulness.
Into Finn’s life returns Anna, the girl from the swimming pool, and the few things he knows about love are about to be painfully revised.
‘Hugely enjoyable… The Auctioneer is a wonderful novel—beguilingly strange, richly detailed and, above all, irresistibly warm-hearted.’ Sunday Times
‘This story of love, tragic indecision and the capricious power of memory echoes Graham Swift in its narrative sweep and Geoff Dyer in its ability to capture the ineffable agony and ecstasy of young love. Charles Fernyhough ingeniously weaves disparate, disorientating threads into a magnificent, compelling whole, a confident transition that belies his newcomer status and produces an outstanding book.’ The Times
‘This is an extremely impressive first novel… Fernyhough tells Finn’s story with an incredible dedication and patience… a new writer so ambitious and thoughtful that you can’t help but look forward to what will come next.’ The Observer
‘Although the novel is densely written, I warmed to the lush, excessive, defiantly woozy style… This big, anxious book surely marks the debut of a considerable talent.’ Daily Telegraph
‘Rich in beguiling detail, incidents and characters… an unusually ambitious debut.’ TLS
‘At once social comedy, local history and love story, this is a crowded but ambitious and intriguing book.’ The Observer
‘This unusual, but exceptionally well-managed debut novel from the talented Mr Fernyhough is part thriller, part love story.’ Oxford Mail
‘There can be few young novelists writing with Charles Fernyhough’s intelligence and ambition.’ The Richmond Review
‘Unusual, ambitious, richly layered and intriguing.’ The Advertiser (South Australia)
‘The Auctioneer is Fernyhough’s first novel, but [he] is anything but a beginner. Artfully, but unartificially, fantastically, puzzlingly and truly Fernyhough tells of the difficulty of living, which is essentially about living with others, or even without them.’ Salzburger Nachrichten
‘At the end of this book you can’t help wondering: is Charles Fernyhough writing anything new? When will it be ready? And how can one get hold of it as quickly as possible?’ Die Presse (Austria)
‘A marvellous achievement.’ Süddeutscher Zeitung