The latest book reviews in one place

The Large Door Reviews

The Large Door by Jonathan Gibbs

The Large Door

Jonathan Gibbs

Score pending

1 review

Imprint: Boiler House Press
Publisher: UEA Publishing Project
Publication date: 4 Apr 2019
ISBN: 9781911343547

When Jenny Thursley, a 40-year old linguistics lecturer, returns to Europe for a conference in Amsterdam, she finds herself pitched back into the presence of a life she had fled: a once-inspirational mentor now dying, a former lover again within reach, the flickerings of new desire. Over little more than twenty-four hours Jenny must write a keynote conference speech, face up to her own mortality, and to the consequences of the bad choices she has made while finding the nerve to make new choices that might be no better. Witty, sexy and provocative, The Large Door is a meditation on life and living, and on ages golden and otherwise that recalls the sparkling mid-century work of writers such as Muriel Spark and Brigid Brophy.

5 stars out of 5
11 Apr 2019

"ery, very funny – Gibbs doesn’t miss the chance for a bit of campus-novel preposterousness"

Gibbs, his second novel confirms, is a Young Master himself. The Large Door is if anything even better than its predecessor. This time, the setting is academia, with Jenny Thursley, a troubled, fortysomething linguistics lecturer, returning from the US to Europe for a conference dedicated to the work of her ailing, one-time mentor...The author has an outsize talent for observation and simile, at one moment giving the reader a captivating view of the room in the round, the next zooming in to a practically cellular level... The Large Door has echoes throughout of Saul Bellow’s famous line that “Death is the dark backing that a mirror needs if we are to see anything.” But it is also very, very funny – Gibbs doesn’t miss the chance for a bit of campus-novel preposterousness. I can’t think of many authors who are capable of doing so many things so well, all at once.