Private View

(hardback 2002, paperback 2003)
*Shortlisted for the 2003 Governor-General’s Award for Fiction, Canada
Make Art Not War by Diego Ferrari

‘There is a moment before she knew him, a moment like many others, which they both inhabited but have no memory of, in the way that so many moments of our lives wash off us like rain.’


A catastrophic event deep in the Central American rainforest has robbed Alex of her innocence, her lover and her belief in herself. Back in Britain, while she tries to pick up the pieces of her life, she finds herself stalked by ghosts, from her past, from other people’s past, and from the present too. Edgy, satirical, beautiful, Jean McNeil’s lyrical and introspective style is perfectly suited to a tale of modern Bohemia.

‘Haunting absences lie at the elusive centre of this memorable new novel… McNeil casts a sharp and evocative eye on twenty-first century London. A memorable piece of reportage from the psychic spaces of how we live now.’ Times Literary Supplement
‘It is a singular pleasure to read McNeil’s prose. She has an extraordinary feel for language and on every page she surprises the reader with arresting turns of phrase… Private View is a delight to read. Canada Post
‘As an exploration of the link between love and memory, it is superb.’ Independent on Sunday.’
‘Beautifully and intelligently written, and often deeply and unexpectedly funny. McNeil has a rare gift.’ Montreal Mirror
‘A writer a lot like the young Mavis Gallant in wit and intelligence, but also readier to flaunt all the powers of language at her command… a cult classic, complicated, nuanced and crackling with cosmopolitanism.’ Toronto Globe and Mail