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SHORTLISTED FOR THE COSTA FIRST NOVEL AWARD ‘Maximilian Ponder is lying face up, dead, on the dining table in his own front room. This is something you really should know, right from the start.
‘Max would also have wanted you to know that this is a Henri II style, French, walnut extending dining table, standing on solid turned legs with fretwork decor to the middle, also with ebony and sandalwood inlay, designed by the French furniture maker Nicolas Rastin and probably dating from around 1900 …’
Maximilian Ponder shut himself away for thirty years in an attempt to record every memory he ever had. Now he lies dead, surrounded by his magnum opus – The Catalogue – an exhaustive set of notebooks and journals that he hopes will form the map of one human mind. But before his friend Adam Last can call the police and inform them of Max’s death, one rather gruesome task remains in order for Max’s project to be complete.
Interspersed with sections from The Catalogue, Adam tells the story of the man he knew – a man whose life changed dramatically the day he buried a dead labrador and fought a duel with his father. What emerges is both the story of a friendship, and also of a lifelong obsession, a quest to understand the human mind, memory and what constitutes a life.
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