Elizabeth Smart’s passionate fictional account of her intense love-affair with the poet George Barker, described by Angela Carter as ‘Like MADAME BOVARY blasted by lightning ... A masterpiece’.
One day, while browsing in a London bookshop, Elizabeth Smart chanced upon a slim volume of poetry by George Barker – and fell passionately in love with him through the printed word. Eventually they communicated directly and, as a result of Barker’s impecunious circumstances, Elizabeth Smart flew both him and his wife from Japan, where he was teaching, to join her in the United States. Thus began one of the most extraordinary, intense and ultimately tragic love affairs of our time. They never married but Elizabeth bore George Barker four children and their relationship provided the impassioned inspiration for one of the most moving and immediate chronicles of a love affair ever written – ‘By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept’.
Originally published in 1945, this remarkable book is now widely identified as a classic work of poetic prose which, seven decades later, has retained all of its searing poignancy, beauty and power of impact.
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'Like Madame Bovary blasted by lightening... a masterpiece' - Angela Carter
'Fresh, vivid, candid, fine ... a novel of our time.' - Cyril Connolly
'At some point every good reader comes across By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept. And he or she recognizes an emotion essential and permanent to us.' - Michael Ondaatje
'Explores a passion between a man and two women, one of them his wife - a love both despairing and triumphant upon which the reader may gaze, awed, appalled, or even, perhaps, envious.' - The Times
'Constructed as a single, sustained climax, it is like a cry of ecstasy which, without changing volume or pitch, becomes a cry of agony.' - Spectator
'A revelation ...This short, powerful work had a profound influence on rue and was one of the factors that made me want to be a writer.' - Beryl Bainbridge
'The emotion, the true and abject affliction, conics through ... to move the reader, and even to awe him.' - London Review of Books
'I doubt if there are half a dozen such masterpieces in the world.' - Brigid BrophyAbout the Author:
Elizabeth Smart was born in Ottawa, Canada, in 1913. She was educated at private schools in Canada and, for a year, at King’s College, University of London. Her landmark work, By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept was published in 1945. After the war she supported herself and her family through journalism and advertising work. In 1963 she became literary and associate editor of Queen magazine but subsequently dropped out of the literary scene to live quietly in a remote part of Suffolk. She died in 1986.
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