This book views the sublime as the radically other, revealing to us our own finitude, and compares it with ideas of negative theology and post-modernism. Fane argues that art and religion attempt to break through the 'hermeneutic circle of knowledge', turning sleepwalkers into people who are alive to an (unknowable) truth.
This volume is a collaboration between wordsmith Olivia Fane and painter John B. Harris. Fane's first essay is on the philosophical understanding of the sublime. The sublime first became a subject of serious philosophical thought in the eighteenth century, thanks to Edmund Burke and Immanuel Kant. Fane argues for an interpretation of the sublime as the radically other, and argues that its function is primarily epistemological, in that it reveals to us our own being and finitude. She goes on to show how this tallies with ideas of negative theology and post-modernism.
Why Sex Doesn't Matter.
Addressing the politics, the obsessions, the misconceptions of one of the most important aspects of human existence.
Is Sex Natural? Is Sex Dirty? Is Sex Loving? Is Sex about Beauty? Is Sex Political?
Casting a critical and fearless eye on the sexual act in all its forms, and sexual identity in all its forms. This is a necessary and controversial book in these confused, self-obsessed, sex-obsessed and gender-fluid times.
'Extremely Articulate’ The Evening Standard
‘A wise new book’ The Oldie
‘Direct. Intense. Honest. A book with a big idea that packs a punch.’ Hilary Lawson, philosopher and director of How the Light Gets In
‘Olivia Fane offers a welcome subversiveness on this subject, telling us that sex isolated from things that genuinely matter – kindness, trust, intelligent personal connection, humour and perspective – is insignificant. To use the irresistible image, she is diagnosing in our culture a bad case of the Emperor’s New Clothes where writing about sex is concerned.’ Rowan Williams.
Possibly a love story.
Laura Glass seems to have everything, looks, money and a perfect marriage. When she spots her husband Hugo kissing a far younger girl, her world is turned upside down, and friends offer conflicting advice on what to do next.
A conventional girl at heart, she enters the world of Bohemia, taking a lover of her own. But can she stay the course?
A comic novel, on the meaning of love, sex and infidelity.
‘Although this looks like chick lit and follows its conventions of structure and narrative, it is in fact a surprising, beautifully written satire on conventional middle-class notions of marriage and romance. Popular and pretty, Laura Glass is a devoted wife and mother with a beautiful home, pots of money and tons of friends. She appears to have the perfect life until, while out shopping, she spots her husband kissing a much younger woman. Some friends advise Laura to divorce her errant man, others tell her to stay. Without giving too much away, it is safe to say she does neither — and the surreal events that ensue are at once hilarious, heartbreaking and thought-provoking. I was gripped from the start, alternately giggling and cringing as Laura’s mad plan goes wildly off-piste.’ Daily Mail
‘Love, marriage, sex, power, friendship, jealousy: this book challenged my thinking about all these issues. With the characters’ range of emotions and their erratic behaviour, at times it is very funny and ironic; at other points worrying and sad. My concern for the main protagonists continued after I had finished reading.’ Kay Dunbar, Director Ways with Words Festivals
'Possibly a Love Story is definitely diverting. The protagonist's progression from bourgeois to Bohemian is delineated with terrific brio as well as Fane's trademark philosophical flair. Slightly disorienting, but hugely entertaining, I read it in two swift sittings.' Isabel Wolff, author of Ghostwritten.
This is a book to enjoy on long car journeys with your partner or friends. The ‘conversations’ are short essays on the meaning of life, everything from Plato to snogging. At the end of each, are a few questions to get you thinking.
‘Superbly ingenious – this book will make you think and argue’ Oliver James, author of Affluenza, Office Politics and They F*** You Up
'This book is quite magnificently unexpected. Although it is direct, usually cheerful and often extremely funny, it fair boggles the mind.' Charles Moore The Telegraph
'The charisma of her writing will certainly win her allies, but Fane doesn’t try to impose her belief system on her readers. You will read the book in a single sitting and dip back into it for years to come.' We Love This Book/The Bookseller
‘Because of the easy applicable starting points for conversation this book in a witty way offers ideas to deepen your relationships.’ Margriet, weekly women’s magazine in Holland
On Loving Josiah.
Josiah is a fifteen-year-old boy living in a local authority care home. Lonely, sensitive, intelligent he meets a university don, Thomas Marius, who befriends him.
Nowadays such a friendship would be frowned upon. Thomas Marius would be accused of ‘grooming’.
In the Classical world, the one which the reclusive Thomas inhabits in his working life, such a friendship would be considered noble, as the older man imparts his wisdom to the younger. Nothing sinister would be read into his simultaneous appreciation of the young man’s beauty.
In the modern climate, however, Thomas himself is uncertain about how pure his motives actually are.
'Far more than creating a tale of pedophilic scandal, Fane unearths thorny moral ambiguities, forcing the reader to consider circumstances in which the unthinkable may be the only sound option.' Publishers Weekly
'A contentious subject, thoughtfully tackled' Daily Mail
Patrick German has achieved all his life’s ambitions: a lovely wife, a baby son and a prestigious job. So when, one day, he walks out on all he knows and loves, he is as perplexed as anyone. He runs away to become a primary school teacher in North Norfolk, where he is mesmerized by a ten-year-old girl in his class, Joanna, who has an other-worldly authority.
Patrick comes to realise that the private, angst-ridden confession he set out to write is becoming something far more extraordinary: an eyewitness account of an angelic life on earth.
'A very distinctive novel.' Hilary Mantel
'This extraordinary story is told very readably. There is a good spicing of satire and humour. Besides being a good tale, God’s Apology is something of an essay in natural theology.’ The Tablet
The Glorius Flight of the Perdita Tree.
Perdita Tree is the spirited, bored wife of a Tory M.P. who is having an affair with his dull, sensible secretary. When he discards a fat dossier on the plight of Albania with a grunt, she finds herself lured to the country to somehow make amends for his disinterest.
Perdita embarks on a series of adventures in a strange and unfathomable land. Loved by one man, while loving another, Perdita's adventures are the female equivalent to an expedition to the South Pole.
'This book is a delight. I loved it. It is an extremely serious novel, posing as one which is simple and beguiling. It races along at a rate of knots, leaving the reader smiling, satisfied, and impressed.' Fay Weldon
'A captivating book - original, intelligent and very entertaining.’ Isabel Wolff
‘Fane toys with chick-lit conventions, but consistently focuses her smart, fluid prose and sophisticated thought on rendering a thoughtful, sorrowful and often highly amusing novel.’ The Times
Landing on Clouds.
Robert Standing hates the trivial in life, or rather he simply can’t do it: the courtesy, the chitchat, the pretence of it all. Desperate to communicate with the outside world on his own terms, he wreaks havoc in the lives of three women. Does he even deserve to find happiness?
'Fane writes with clarity, elegance and a wit which raises her interest in amorous foreplay into the Ovidian. Her debut is the most radiant I have seen this year' Amanda Craig, Independent
‘Brings to mind comparisons with Shena Mackay, and, in her hero’s philosophical quest, with early Iris Murdoch.’ Claire Colvin, The Times
Out of print