The Billy Palmer Chronicles brings to a conclusion the life of Derek Johns’ semi-autobiographical character Billy Palmer, who we have grown to love in his previous novels, Wintering and Wakening. The Billy Palmer Chronicles includes these two previous novels as well as two new ones, Westering and Wanting, in which Johns describes the adulthood and middle age of our eponymous hero.
In Westering, Billy is in his early thirties and living in New York. He has married an American, and is attempting to pursue a career in the arts whilst discovering married life and contemplating starting a family. In Wanting, Billy is middle-aged. Divorced from Alice, and three thousand miles away from both her and his teenage son Michael, he is back in London, and has taken up a career as an antiquarian book dealer. When the daughter of a recently deceased novelist writes to ask whether Billy will handle the archive, he finds himself going back to his beloved Somerset, and in returning to his past, he begins to be aware of the shape of his future.
We follow Billy from the shadow of Glastonbury Tor in the drab 1950’s, across the Atlantic to the dazzling lights of Manhattan and back to the London of the millennium. Through adventure, discovery, disappointment and elation these books draw the reader in to the ups and downs of Billy’s life. Engaging, evocative, and flawlessly paced, The Billy Palmer Chronicles is a pitch-perfect tale of one man’s search for the life he has imagined.