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The Neglected Books Page

www.NeglectedBooks.com: Where forgotten books are remembered
  • The Fractured Smile, by Kathleen Sully (1965)
    The Fractured Smile is a Feydeau comedy of infidelity, coincidences and missed connections transported to sixties England and a universe where Brownian motion has replaced Newtonian mechanics. Jess wakes to a phone call saying that her husband, George, has been spotting boarding a train to the seaside with his very attractive secretary. Jess throws on... Read more
  • A Young Smuggler’s Guide to the Customs, by Peter Ustinov from Vogue’s Gallery (1962)
    The Italians mix their officers shrewdly. Some are very ferocious looking gentlemen with fast-growing beards and grenades exploding dramatically on their caps, while others are very old men in shirtsleeves, who have some difficulty in speaking. The shrewdness of this arrangement lies in the fact that the ferocious gentlemen invariably have hearts of gold, as......
  • The Way Out of Berkeley Square, by Rosemary Tonks (1970)
    Rosemary Tonks is now known as the poet who disappeared, thanks to a 2009 BBC program (“The Poet Who Vanished”) and features in the Guardian, TLS, the London Review of Books, the Poetry Foundation and others following her death in May 2014 and the reissue that fall of Bedouin of the London Evening, a collection... Read more
  • Talk, the National Industry of Ireland, from Irish Literary Portraits, edited by W. R. Rodgers (1973)
    It was not only the well-known writers who had contributions to make; one is forever being surprised in Dublin by the high standard of knowledge displayed by ordinary citizens in any walk or on any level of life. I had many instances of this; as he pulled me a pint, a Dublin publican said to... Read more
  • A Man on the Roof, by Kathleen Sully (1961)
    I don’t think it qualifies as a spoiler to say that the man on the roof in A Man on the Roof is a ghost. Specifically, he’s Wilfred Clough, late husband of Peony. Obsessed with stamp collecting while living, he returns to haunt — or rather, berate — his wife after she sells his collection.... Read more
  • McCabe, by Edmund Naughton (1959)
    Edmund Naughton’s 1959 western, McCabe, is mainly mentioned as a footnote to Robert Altman’s first masterpiece, his 1971 film McCabe & Mrs. Miller. Reissued as a tie-in to the film when it came out, it’s been out of print for over three decades now and fetches some fairly steep prices. (My tip: the cheapest copies... Read more
  • A Man Talking to Seagulls, by Kathleen Sully (1959)
    Kathleen Sully uses death as punctuation in A Man Talking to Seagulls, a tale of one day in the life of Dundeston, a resort somewhere on the east coast of England. She opens the day with the body of a young woman washed up on the beach. Scratcher, a vagrant living in a shack on... Read more
  • The Club, by A. D. Wintle (1961)
    Lieutenant Colonel Alfred Daniel Wintle MC, or A. D. Wintle for short, was one of the great characters of the 20th century, a genuine war hero, egoist, eccentric, and defender of all things gentlemanly. He died before finishing his autobiography, but when his friend Alastair Revie condensed the million-some words of manuscript that Wintle left... Read more
  • Skrine, by Kathleen Sully (1960)
    None of the four novels by Kathleen Sully I’ve read so far is anything quite like the others, but I feel safe in saying that Skrine is the most unlike the rest. In fact, in his TLS review, Arthur-Calder Marshall observed that Sully’s critical reputation (back when she had one) would have been higher if... Read more
  • “Pass On!,” from “Can’t You Get Me Out of Here?” by Julia Strachey (1960)
    I’m not sure I can reprint the entirety of Julia Strachey’s one New Yorker piece, “Can’t You Get Me Out of Here,” which I mentioned in my post on Strachey’s autobiography (posthumously edited by Frances Partridge), without running afoul of someone’s copyright, but I can’t resist sharing its sublime opening: My father, whose failing eyesight......
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