Tim’s second novel, Peace Talks, was published in the UK by Bloomsbury in April 2020. In October 2020 it was published in the US by Europa Editions and in Holland by Levine Querido, It will be published Germany by Rowohlt and in Italy by Ediziono E/O. In November 2020 Peace Talks was shortlisted for the prestigious Costa Book Awards.
Edvard Behrends is a senior diplomat, highly regarded for his work on international peace negotiations. Under his arbitration, unimaginable atrocities are coolly dissected; invisible and ancient lines, grown taut and frayed with conflict, redrawn.
In his latest post, Edvard has been sent a resort hotel in the Tyrol. High up on this mountain, the air is bright and clear. When he isn’t working, Edvard reads, walks, listens to music. He confides in no one – no one but his wife Anna. Anna, who he loves with all his heart; Anna, always present and yet forever absent.
Honest, honourable, tragic, witty, wise, an unforgettable novel of love, loss, and the human longing for peace, Peace Talks maps the darkest and most tender territories of the human heart.
Peace Talks has been widely praised by the critics.
‘A profound novel about human frailty … In its tone and minor-key approach, Peace Talks is reminiscent of the Julian Barnes of Levels of Life, plus lashings of (duly credited) James Salter …
Peace Talks turns out to be a moving and direct study of frailty , love and time, and luck and grief , of what is left when all the noise – of machination, violence and competing stories – is stripped away’ Guardian
‘A tender and elegant portrait of a grieving individual searching for personal and political peace’ Sunday Times
‘Peace Talks is a feat of telling this nothing, of articulating the mundanity and penetrating the emptiness of grief. When the official peace deal is reached, Edvard pauses to wonder how. He notes: ‘Sheer exhaustion played a part. Sheer grinding tedium too.’ So, by the novel’s close, having witnessed the exhaustion and grinding tedium of his grief, masterfully rendered by Finch, we feel Edvard is closer to reaching his own persona l peace too’ Spectator
Tim Finch’s elegant and wintry novel has something of the feel of early Kazuo Ishiguro, and a similar acute grasp of both character and situation, aided by the author’s background in refugee and migrant charities … In Behrends, Finch has created a narrator both open and opaque, as he depicts the high-stakes milieu of diplomatic entreaties with conviction and insight’ Observer
“By more than a mile the best book I have read during the pandemic is Tim Finch’s Peace Talks... This could be the best novel written in English this century.” The Spectator Australia
“A lucid work carefully balanced between the terrors and consolations that fiction can provide.” Kirkus Reviews
‘As well as shining a light on the conflict resolution industry, Finch plays a canny game with our assumptions about the motives behind Anna’s murder, in a smart tale slyly engineered to warn against the perils of nationalist tub-thumping’ Daily Mail
“A shrewd delight’ Independent Online
“Peace Talks is a poignant read, full of emotional truth with some unexpected humour along the way” Interview and Review, Islington Tribune
‘Insightful, emotionally resonant and unexpectedly poetic… (there is a hint of Monty Python and Chris Morris in the points-scoring squabbles over the angles of the window blinds); that it doesn’t jar with what increasingly becomes a profound meditation on memory, loss, and the agony of grief is a mark of Finch’s management of tone. The novel is full of terrible details of brutality in battle, in love and in death. Yet it is consistently a pleasure to read.’ The Big Issue