This novel is one of Anthony Burgess's most accessible and entertaining works. By turns bawdy, raucous, tender and bittersweet, and full of music and songs, this is a warm and affectionate portrait of the working-class Lancashire of the 1920s and 1930s that he knew from his own early life.
Part of the forthcoming Irwell Edition of the Works of Anthony Burgess, this book offers an opportunity to reappraise an unjustly neglected novel important to our understanding of Burgess's wider oeuvre. The 2017 Burgess centenary makes this a key moment for reflection on the life and work of a major figure in twentieth century letters.
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From Publishers Weekly:
Will Carr is Deputy Director of the International Anthony Burgess Foundation, and has previously held senior roles at the Poetry School, Arts Council England, the Wordsworth Trust and the National Association for Literature Development
Burgess's entertaining pen does not flag in this larky exercise in nostalgia. The slim novel is narrated by elderly but still beautiful Ellen Henshaw, born lower-class British but now retired in Provence after a career as an entrepreneurial prostitute. In a lusty, cynical voice, droll with casual obscenities and unwittingly vulgar vernacular, Ellen relates the story of her beloved "poor old dad." A piano player (not a Pianist, she insists) for the old silent movies, Billy Henshaw was a genius before his time, according to Ellen, but drink, womanizing and false pride brought him down; all were responsible for his disastrous decision to take part in a brutal piano marathon. Ellen's rendition of their life in and out of seedy boarding houses, cinemas and music halls in Blackpool and Manchester is littered with malapropisms, the indiscriminate use of capital letters ("It's very hard to get away from Sex and I've never really tried") and mangled French. There are some inspired set pieces here: an on-stage brawl during a vaudeville performance is broad farce; an account of a trip to Italy is Grand Guignol dark comedy. Burgess's little jokes (he includes a page of sheet music; Ellen reads le Carre for her insomnia, since he's "a very dull writer who is good for sending you to sleep") and his fondness for the "good old days," give this novel a palpable charm.
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Descripción Arrow Books, 1987. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. book. Nº de ref. de la librería 009952550X