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The Neglected Books Page

23 February 2019

www.NeglectedBooks.com: Where forgotten books are remembered
  • As It Was in the Beginning, by G. E. Trevelyan (1934)

    The anonymous TLS reviewer described G. E. Trevelyan’s third novel, As It Was in the Beginning (1934) as “almost unreadable in its intensity.” Thumbing through the book after getting it in the mail last month, I could see that was an apt assessment, and somewhat dreaded the level of attention I would have to devote... Read more

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  • Angry Man’s Tale, by Peter de Polnay (1939)

    At a time when many first-time novelists bemourn publishers’ reluctance to back their works with advertisement, Alfred A. Knopf’s half-page ad for Peter de Polnay’s Angry Man’s Tale (1939) stands as righteous refutation. Look at that headline (perhaps not the best choice of font, Mr. Knopf): “Not the book of the year. Not even the... Read

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  • “On the Floor” and the Mystery of Joan Jukes

    “But when I open the door I find someone has moved my chair.” Some hold that a proper short story should start midstream. Joan Jukes’ 1935 story, “On the Floor,” takes this advice to the extreme. Where are we? What was happening before he/she opened the door? Who is this narrator? The reader can only... Read more

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  • William’s Wife, by G. E. Trevelyan (1938)

    William’s Wife is the natural history of a bag lady. Starting from the day of her wedding to grocer William Chirp, a widower in his late fifties, G. E. Trevelyan takes us step by step through the metamorphosis of Jane Atkins from an ordinary young woman in service (a good position, more of a lady’s... Read more

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  • Undercurrent, by Barbara Jefferis (1953)

    When Miss Doxy, the spinster at center of Barbara Jefferis’ novel Undercurrent, sits down to breakfast in her boarding house dining room, she notices a strange man sitting at a table near the door. “They have so much,” she thinks. “So much money, so much power, so many people. They can change their man three... Read more

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  • Quiet Street, by Michael Ossorgin [Mikhail Osorgin] (1930)

    I’ve been saving Mikhail Osorgin’s novel, Quiet Street, for a quiet break. There is something about a good, thick Russian book — things like Anna Karenina, Life and Fate, or Konstantin Paustovsky’s autobiography — that demand you set aside distractions and carve out hours to let it take over your life, and I could tell... Read

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  • Theme with Variations, by G. E. Trevelyan (1938)

    “Samuel Smith was the best part of thirty before anyone told him he was a wage-slave.” With opening sentence of Theme with Variations, G. E. Trevelyan tells her readers they’re not in typical British women’s middlebrow territory anymore. This is not a book about tea parties or sitting rooms: this is book simmering with anger... Read

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  • Ragged Regiment, by George Marion (1981)

    Since the Fifties, there have been plenty of junk or ‘Pulp’ novels depicting the Second World War from American and, to a lesser degree, British & Australian authors. (Yes, even Australia had pulp war novelists. Owen Gibson was one writer who, during the Fifties, churned out about 25 slim novels about Aussies in WW2. Totally... Read more

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  • A Family Failure, by Renate Rasp (1970)

    Kuno, the son in Renate Rasp’s novel, A Family Failure, wishes he could be as lucky as Gregor Samsa. When Gregor was transformed into a monstrous cockroach, at least his family had the decency to reject him. Kuno’s family — specifically his stepfather (who prefers to be referred to as “Uncle Felix”) — wants to... Read more

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  • Carrington: A Novel of the West, by Michael Straight (1960)

    For an obscure novelist, Michael Whitney Straight (1916- 2004) had an extraordinary life and career. A member of a distinguished family, his maternal grandfather was William C. Whitney, Secretary of the US Navy in the late 1800s, his mother was Dorothy Whitney, the famous philanthropist and his father William (who died of Spanish Flu in... Read

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