Monday, September 27, 2010

General Fiction – Carey, Carson, Carter, Chute & Colette

Though my head is still somewhere in William Gibson land after finishing his latest fiction Zero History this morning, I will endeavour to distract my mind and resume with more offerings on this blog in the general fiction category.

Firstly, Edward Carey’s wonderful and strange Observatory Mansions.


Closely followed by that other more famous Carey, Peter Carey’s 1988 Booker winning novel Oscar & Lucinda.


Twisted Kicks by Tom Carson is one of the first and best rock n roll novels. There have not been many written at all. Published in 1981 my paperback copy of the novel is an Arena edition published in 1984.


Now on to more of my Angela Carter collection, mostly Virago paperbacks.

carter_americanghosts carter_nothingsacred
carter_shadowdance carter_toyshop

Carolyn Chute is an American novelist and political activist. Her best known novel is The Beans of Egypt Maine. This King Penguin Edition has a wonderful cover in a primitive/naive style,

chute_beansof egypt maine

And finally, The Tender Shoot a collection of stories by French novelist Colette translated by Antonia White. I was a great fan of Colette in my youth and have many of her books in old Penguin editions which I’ll get round to displaying later. This edition was published by Farrar, Strauss & Giroux in the 1970s.


Next – John Crowley

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

General Fiction – Berendt, Bloom, Bonfiglioli, Bradshaw, Burgess & Byatt

Taking up from where I left off last time, some more general fiction or non fiction in some cases.

Case in point, John Berendt’s classic take on Savannah Georgia, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. It has been a long time since I last read this book, but I do recall being quite taken with it at the time. This edition was published by Vintage circa 1994.


Harold Bloom, eminent American man of letters wrote only one novel, which purportedly he has disowned, according to the Wikipedia entry on The Flight to Lucifer, the novel in question. It is a sequel to the David Lindsay novel Voyage To Arcturus.


An oddity – the Mortdecai trilogy by Kyril Bonfiglioli.


I’ve mentioned Gillian Bradshaw previously in relation with her well regarded Arthurian trilogy that featured Sir Gawain. She has written many other novels - historical fiction primarily and The Bear Keeper’s Daughter is one. It is set in Byzantine Constantinople and features the Empress Theodora, wife of Justinian 1.


Anthony Burgess’ novel Earthly Powers opens with surely one of the most provocative opening sentences of any book.

”It was the afternoon of my eighty- first birthday, and I was in bed bed with my catamite when Ali announced that the archbishop had come to see me.”

Burgess most famous novel is of course Clockwork Orange of which I do believe I have a copy of somewhere, also a collection of his Enderby novels.

This edition of Earthy Powers was published by Penguin in 1980.


To end this post, some of my collection of A S Byatt in paperback editions. It was in fact The Virgin in the Garden, the first of her Frederica novels, that introduced me to her writing.

The first three Frederica novels in Penguin editions…

byatt_virgin byatt_stilllife byatt_babelstower

Collections of Short Stories in Vintage editions…

byatt_djinn byatt_sugar

Coming up: Peter Carey, Edward Carey, Angela Carter among others.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

General Fiction – Allende, Ariosto, Banville, Barnes & Bedford

To resume…

Back to general fiction and to begin -  two volumes by Isobel Allende. You may have noticed that I haven’t posted her most famous novel The House of the Spirits. That is because my original paperback copy of the book went missing and to replace it I bought (second hand) a movie edition – pretty boring, so I’m not showing it here.

The below editions are Eva Luna in an uncorrected proof edition and The Stories of Eva Luna in a  Penguin edition. 

allende_evaluna_proof allende_evaluna

Next a book, that crazily was popular in the 1970s as a result of the Ballantine  Adult Fantasy Series. I do believe that there was a Ballantine edition of Orlando Furioso
by Ludovico Ariosto, but this edition was  published by Oxford University Press in1974.


John Banville won the Booker Prize for his novel The Sea in 2005, but the two below novels are much earlier. Kepler is part of his Revolutions series and is an imaginative biography of Johannes Kepler the German mathematician and astronomer. Birchwood is an odd sort of book, a tale of decadence and decay set in a dilapidated Irish Manor.

banville_kepler banville_birchwood

Julian Barnes wonderful novel Arthur and George was shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 2005.  It is described on his website as “A novel about low crime and high spirituality; guilt and innocence; identity, nationality and race; and thwarted passion.” and contains an illuminating character study of Arthur Conan Doyle, who is indeed the Arthur of the title.


And finally for tonight, my small collection of Sybille Bedford novels.

bedford_compasserror bedford_favouriteofthegods
bedford_jigsaw bedford_legacy

Next – more general fiction.