From Tony and Susan to Nocturnal Animals

10th September 2016

By any standards, Tony and Susan was definitely something of a slow bloomer.  The book was author Austin Wrights fourth novel after a hiatus of seventeen years – originally published back in 1993 when the author was seventy-one, and had just retired from a long and illustrious academic career at the University of Cincinatti, where he taught literature. Despite rave reviews, including a rare and effusive accolade from none other than Saul Bellow who describe it as ‘beautiful’ – like all too many great books, it was forgotten, disappearing to huddle on the dusty shelves of second-hand bookstores, its praise forgotten, its story untold.

And without its editorial champions here at Atlantic [pause for the noise of us blowing our own trumpet] there it would still languish – silenced (alongside said trumpet).  Since Atlantic’s re-publication in 2010, the book has gone on to delight, astonish and disturb a whole new audience of appreciative readers.  With its heady mix of thriller-like, almost painful, suspense and the superb quality of the writing, Tony and Susan was established as that rare thing – a page turning work of literary fiction that discomforts as it compels, is both internal, thoughtful and yet almost pulpy in pace.

Authors from Ruth Rendell to Donna Leon and reviewers in the quality press and the five star echelons of Amazon, have been impressed by the skillful ‘book-within a book’ narrative.  Even Ian McEwan is a fan.  Championing the book on Swedish television – as you do –  he said he wished he’d thought of the idea and described it as ‘completely addictive’.  But still, it didn’t quite hit the top spot it deserved.  Until now, because it is ready for its close up, and coming to a multiplex near you, courtesy of legendary designer and film director Tom Ford in early November, and of course, Atlantic is reissuing the novel to coincide with the movie premiere.

NOCTURNAL ANIMALS, based on our very own Tony and Susan, starring none other than JAKE GYLLENHAAL and AMY ADAMS, will be released in the UK on the 4th November.  And if the movie is anything as tense as the novel, be prepared to be gripped.


This is one of those stories that are better avoided at bedtime if you want to get to sleep – it will keep you up long after it would have been sensible to turn off the light.  The Tony and Susan of the title, are not a couple as the you to expect. Susan –  a middle-class, middle-aged woman whose comfortable life, and marriage, is disrupted by the arrival of a manuscript written by her ex-husband and childhood-sweetheart; while the incredibly believable and ultimately tragic, Tony, is the main character in the manuscript.  The book takes the reader, and Susan, on a journey that is not always comfortable but is nevertheless always riveting.

Most readers are amazed that they hadn’t heard of Austin Wright before, a sentiment that, hopefully, even more people will share after the movie.

‘ a superb and thrilling novel … an  extraordinary metafiction  about reading and writing’. Ian McEwan


‘Wildly gripping…terrifically absorbing’ ✭✭✭✭✭  Peter Bradshaw, Guardian

Directed and produced by Tom Ford, starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Amy Adams.



Watch the trailer here