Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Picador Books – Part 6 – Hamsun, Handley, Hedayet, Heller, Herr, Hesse, Hoban & Hrabel

As you see from the title of this blog, I’ll be covering Picadors by authors whose names start with “H”.

First up, Knut Hamsun, a Norwegian author who won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1920 for his epic novel Growth of the Soil.

I don’t have that book, but I do have Victoria in a Picador edition.


Max Handley is the little known author of Meanwhile and two other novels. Meanwhile is a dystopian novel wherein men and women have been separated from each other for generations and basically forgotten that the other sex exists. Men regenerate through cloning and live in an under water bubble whilst the women reproduce by pathenogenesis and occupy the land. Meanwhile follows the events of them meeting up again, after one of the men, fascinated by the species of being he discovers in girly magazines, crawls to the surface. It’s a crazy novel, very funny as well. Max Handley died in 1993 and is virtually forgotten these days.


The Blind Owl is the best known novel of Sādeq Hedāyat, an Iranian writer of poetry and novels. This is another unusual novel published by Picador. Can you imagine anyone publishing this type of book these days?


Some better known writers – Joseph Heller with Picture This, and Michael Herr’s memoir of the Vietnam War, Dispatches which was influential in the making of the films Apocalypse Now and Full Metal Jacket.

heller_picturethis herr_dispatches

I discovered Herman Hesse in my late teens, early twenties and deeply identified with the novel Steppenwolf which identification I regard as somewhat self indulgent these days. But heck, I was younger then. I still do have my original Penguin paperback edition of that novel,which I’ll get to later. Meanwhile, here’s one of his less famous novels, Rosshalde, in a Picador edition.


Russell Hoban was one of my favourite writers way back when, though I must admit I’ve failed to keep up with his work. I still love his book The Mouse and his Child, which he signed for me when I met him in 1984.

Here is his first novel The Lion of Boaz-Jachin and Jachin-Boaz and Pilgerman, both published in Picador.

hoban_lion hoban_pilgermann

And finally I Served the King of England by Bohumil Hrabal, a Czech writer best known for writing Closely Watched Trains.


Next – more Picadors – Anna Kavan and other writers whose names begin with “K”.

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