(FREE PDF) × The Undiscovered Country ⚸ eBook or E-pub free

I really have found myself to love the writing of Julian Mitchell. This novel is in two parts, with the second half not being written by Mitchell.

The first part of The Undiscovered Country is a beautiful memoir, commemoration & love letter to his friend 'Charles' detailing their first 30 years of life roughly; while growing up in England and subsequently moving around the world. Very heartbreaking yet truthful.

The second part of the novel is the manuscript that Charles left for Julian of his novel, 'The New Satyricon'. A very complex novel that to me has many meanings & metaphors that I could write on and on. It focuses on a man named Henry who travels to an unnamed country, falls immediately in love with the sight of a perfect human and spends the rest of the novel trying to find this person. The novel mostly takes place at a massive hotel where at every turn Henry is thwarted by some event, group of people or strange occurrence that keeps him from his beloved.

Very satirical against all sorts of society, but deeply calling out atrocities of history, Charles I felt wrote this containing two major metaphors. Firstly, this all being a metaphor for his own experience in life with his relationship with Julian as described in the first section of the novel. Secondly, the hotel being a concentration camp which there is no escape from. It was clear Charles was obsessed for a time, with the Nazi war atrocities when you read Julian's memoir. And I also feel there are so many other interpretations within, but I won't list them here.

'The New Satyricon' is filled with notes from Julian about his interpretations and understanding of the novel, which really helped me understand the flow and meanings buried within. I still feel that Charles left his novel only for Julian and that he didn't want it published, so as I was reading I felt like an intruder on something I shouldn't be viewing.

Overall, a very oddly structured novel but it completely captured me and I felt like I got a great insight into one of my favourite writers and this important part of his life. Reviewed by The Guardian
SPOILER ALERT! It was really difficult to rate this book as it's actually two books by different authors in one, something I wasn't aware of before I started reading. The first part (written by Julian Mitchell) is a (semi?) autobiographical story of growing up through the 40s, 50s and 60s and his meeting with Charles en route to prep school as a child, a relationship which had a major influence on him and continued through into the 50s and 60s until Charles' early death. Aside from zoning out a little during an extended discussion about cricket (yawn), I LOVED this book... his observations on human nature and his ability to look beyond first appearances were brilliant. Charles and Julian's extended discussions on the meaning of life, art, literature and love were fascinating... thoughtprovoking and challenging. The ambiguous nature of Julian and Charles' relationship was also a major pageturner and it was interesting (and depressing)to get a historical context into the gay politics of the day. The first part of the novel ends sadly.

As for the second half of the book... I was *most* impressed with my perseverance in labouring through this to the end! I wasn't a fan, even though a sense of sadness stayed with me throughout, as Charles was obviously a tormented and unhappy man. Despite this, I wouldn't recommend this section, although as Julian chose to include it, it seemed unfair not to attempt to read it.

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