Sunday, January 9, 2011

General Fiction – Penelope Fitzgerald, Nina Fitzpatrick, Ronald Frame, Jane Gardam

Penelope Fitzgerald is a Booker winning author who died in 2000. She was related to notable people. Her father Edmund Knox was editor of Punch magazine 1932-1949, her uncle was Bletchley Park cryptographer Dilly Knox and her other uncle was Ronald Knox, noted English theologian, priest and crime writer.

I must admit I knew none of the above facts until I looked it up just now. I have only one of Penelope Fitzgerald's novels, Innocence, an historical novel set in the 1950s.


Fables of the Irish Intelligentsia by Nina Fitzpatrick is one of those odd and unusual books that you occasionally stumble upon. It is also a very amusing book, being both witty and outrageous. It owes a lot to the writings of Flann O’Brien.


Ronald Frame is not an author you hear much about these days, but he was and probably still is quite prolific. He has been described on the name linked website as belonging “to that select group of male novelists who write almost exclusively from the female point of view; indeed he has been described as the poet of thé dansant, obsessed with the minutiae of women's lives”

I have a number of his novels, which I have read once. Curiously I have never felt tempted to reread them.

frame_penelopeshat frame_underwood

I have a pretty complete collection of Jane Gardam’s novels for adults, though she has written many for children as well. She is one of my favourite writers, an author whose books I purchase as soon as they are published; these days at least. Her books are universally excellent with her characteristic gentle and satiric prose and sharp character studies – she is a great writer.

The majority of her books in my collection are Abacus paperbacks…

gardam_bilgewater gardam_blackfaces
gardam_crusoesdaughter gardam_verona
gardam_darkhouse gardam_sidmouth
gardam_showingtheflag gardam_tambourine
gardam_faithfox gardam_midnight

I seem to be missing God on the Rocks, hopefully not forever and I do have a copy of The Summer After the Funeral in a penguin/puffin edition somewhere.

The following are hard cover first editions.


gardam_filth gardam_woodenhat


Next – Che Guevara and various “H” authors including Hesse.

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