A Truly Original Writer

Customarily I expect each book I read to suggest subsequent reading material. Reading Simone de Beauvoir offered up André Gide and William Faulkner, and also lead indirectly to Bernard-Henri Lévy and Stendhal. Geoff Dyer suggested Rebecca West, leading to Henry Green, whom she describes:

He was a truly original writer, his prose was fresh minted, he drove his bloodless scalpel inches deeper into the brain and heart, none of it had been said before. He is nearly forgotten.

Four other writers merit West’s favourable mention, each of which I shall try to squeeze into my life:

Now I admire Muriel Spark, for she is an innovator. And I am a fanatical admirer of A. L. Barker. If you cannot read her it is your fault. You should ask your vet to put you down if you do not admire The Middling or An Occasion for Embarrassment. I admire the grand architectural force of Paul Scott, and the subtlety of Francis King, notably his book The Widow.

6 thoughts on “A Truly Original Writer

  1. >Muriel Spark has been a revelation to me this past year. Smart, insightful, wickedly funny but often masking such incredible personal pain right beneath the surface. Love her work.


  2. >Henry Green is on my to-do list as well. The three others (besides Spark) I'm a bit ashamed to say I've never heard of. But considering the company, I should probably get acquainted.


  3. >Same here, Nicole, though I was vaguely aware of Scott's Raj Quartet. My research suggests A. L. Barker and Frances King's The Widow are worth reading, and there are some nice Faber editions out at the moment.


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