When BS Johnson first approached a literary agent with his debut novel Travelling People he received an outright rejection. The agent described the novel as 'pretentious and unsaleable,' according to Philip Tew, co-editor of a new compendium of Johnson's diverse output, Well Done God! Selected Prose and Drama of BS Johnson.
World War Two has become an epic of nostalgia entirely disconnected from the cause of anti-fascism, the sacrifices made by the Red Army on the Eastern Front once again hidden from history. Stalingrad, forgotten, scarcely meriting a mention in the mainstream media despite its fixation with all things WW2.
Who wanted to be Lizzie Bennet? Not me, aged 10, that's for sure. I wanted to be elder sister Jane, who was beautiful and good. She thought the best of everyone, even when Miss Bingley was being a total cow. Even then, I felt dimly, this was going to be beyond me, and therefore something to aspire to.
There are so many wonderful American poets who have not achieved the fame (or notoriety) sufficient to carry their names or poems across the pond. Here are five such diamonds in the rough, selected for their energy, tenacity, and all-around fine work, that are worth keeping an eye on in the coming year.
Saunders is a great one for internal reverie. We see directly into his characters' minds - their secret dreams and fantasies - before he reveals these reveries for what they are: delusions. If I have any criticism it is this: he has a habit of revisiting characters, themes and ideas, which in a collection of just ten stories, feels like a bit of a cheat. Nevertheless, this is an absorbing read.
Le Grand Meaulnes is a novel best read by a man of youth and innocence, as it would be impossible for those who have become immune to life's tragedies, where the rawness of that first lost love has faded into the mists of time, to ever resonate quite so deeply and fall under its spell in such a tremendous way.