Here is England's leading man of letters-as old as the century-at the height of his powers, the incomparable V. S. Pritchett, who’s brilliantly observed short stories have become classics in his own lifetime. In these six beautifully crafted stories-his latest effort-we see a master at work, casting his eye over the subjects he knows best, the ordinary men and women of England: studious fourteen- year-old Sarah, whose life is changed by a game of hide-and-seek; or Lionel Frazier, the hairdresser.
The Lady from Guatemala is a collection of stories from one of the most distinguished short story writers in English. From first to last, V.S. Pritchett's writing displays a shrewd understanding of class and character and a quick ear for the inner, deeper rhythms of dialogue. His subject matter is always human nature, its peculiarity, its tenacity... His prose is clear, his observation complex and multi-layered.
"An amazing collection"
Eliciting comparisons to Orwell's Homage to Catalonia, Pritchett's meditative work on Spain is comprised of a string of sketches, woven around the author's musings on the Spanish character. Having lived in Spain for four years during the 1920s, Pritchett is well placed to deliver such a report, and his resulting narrative is both well informed and delightfully written.
London of the mind, the heart and the eye is displayed, discussed and dissected in this classic work of 1962 that unites the elegant prose of V.S. Pritchett and the revealing photographs of Evelyn Hofer. Here is a pithy, knowledgeable distillation of the essential London - a panorama of its history, art, literature and daily life. Here is the city that Londoners know, a paraodox of grandeur and grime, the locus of bustling markets and tranquil parks, of palaces and pubs, of docks and railway depots.
’A gentle giant’, as the Goncourts called him, Turgenev emerged from the barbarous yet doting rules of a terrible mother, whose cruelties to her serfs are at the heart of his hatred of serfdom. He was saturated in femininity and could not write unless he was in love. When he freed himself from his mother, he became enslaved by the famous Spanish singer, Pauline Viardot, married to a Frenchman.
V.S. Pritchett explores the connections between Chekhov’s life and art, showing how Chekhov (1860-1904) often based his fiction on experiences of his difficult early years where he was responsible for his impoverished family, and as a young doctor, reported on the conditions of the Russian penal colony at Sakhalin. Later he continued his medical career, even when he became a well-known writer and playwright. This audiobook focuses on the short stories of Chekhov often neglected...
VS. Pritchett, master of the short story, is also the most evocative of travel writers. His portrait of Dublin - its past, politics and people, its grand mansions and curious corners - is as beguiling and eloquent as the city itself, as he writes of the Dublin he knew in the 1920s, of visits to Sean O'Casey and Yeats (brandishing a teapot in his rage at Shaw) and of the changing city forty years later, facing the future but still as eccentric and engaging as ever.
"Not exactly general interest"
Admirers of The Spanish Temper, Marching Spain and his wonderfully evocative books on London, Dublin and New York will need no reminding that V.S. Pritchett is one of the very great travel writers of our time, possessed of an astonishingly accurate eye and a marvellous ability to conjure up the essence of a place, and of the people who live there. Written for the most part in the 1950s and 1960s, the essays brought together in At Home and Abroad cover South and North America, Spain, Ireland, Portugal, London...
"Solid travel narrative from a "fiction" writer"
The Other Side of a Frontier is a celebration of the distinguished contribution which V.S. Pritchett has made to English letters over the past fifty years. Introduced by the author, the collection has been chosen from his short stories, literary criticism, biographies and travel writing, and includes extracts from his autobiographies. It provides a perfect introduction to a universally acknowledged master of the English language. V.S. Pritchett explores the connections between Chekhov's life and art.
In our town, if you cough in the High Street the chemist up at the Town Hall has got the bottle of cough mixture wrapped up and waiting for you.' And nobody in the town provides such a wealth of delicious gossip as 'Noisy' Brackett and his wife Sally. Refusing to pay her bills, chasing her errant husband around the countryside in fast cars, setting fire to the heart of Bob, the local baker, Sally is a gloriously raffish figure of fun. In these three linked novellas Bob relates how Sally finally paid his account.
The critical essays of V.S. Pritchett are unparalleled for their wit, geniality, subtlety and profound good sense. His survey of writers ranges from Fielding and Smollett to Conrad, D.H. Lawrence, Nathanael West and William Golding...from Balzac to Dostoevsky and Gorky, with wonderful detours for minor figures. Pritchett's commentaries are short and incisive and are written from the point of view of the engaged reader rather than from the specialized approach of the scholar and formal analyst of literary structure.
V. S. Pritchett is widely - and justly - regarded not only as one of the finest short story writers of this century, but as a critic and essayist of astonishing range, perception and originality. Combining an unpretentious common sense with a rare genius for the illuminating insight into the familiar and the neglected alike, his criticism is all the more valuable in an age in which the study of literature has become increasingly arid and arcane.
In Mr. Pritchett's view, rules, regulations and blitzes have brought things to such a pass that the moment will come when only the reader "and the hundred best authors are left in the world and have somehow to shake down together." To prepare for this "unnerving situation" he has re-read and re-assessed some of these authors, and the essays collected in this book are the fruit of his cogitations.
The Camberwell Beauty is a collection of short stories which explore the close-knit world of antique dealers, their obsessions and suspicions, their hatred of customers and the fantasy lives that grow out of the objects they collect. The Lady from Guatemala tells of a celebrated progressive who is haunted in private by an embarrassing admirer, one of the down trodden for whom he has spoken so eloquently in public.
I am,' writes Mr. Pritchett, 'an offensive traveller'-meaning not that he is rude to porters, but that his praise of a country has sometimes been taken by its inhabitants as abuse or ridicule. Be that as it may, his book, which is based upon sojourns in Spain, Turkey, Persia, and the Iron Curtain countries, will delight every English reader. Pritchett's alert eye and relaxed manner, his flair for meeting new places and people without any warping preoccupations, produce the most felicitous results.
"Great snapshot of an era"
This thrilling novel tells the story of an expedition by three Englishmen into the Brazilian jungle; a journey which turns into an obsessive quest for the truth behind a missionary’s disappearance 17 years earlier. The three men are each linked in different ways to the same woman in England, and her presence overshadows the whole narrative. At the centre of the expedition is Harry Johnson, the son of the missing missionary-a solitary explorer-hero who is obsessed by the woman, Lucy.
‘It is because we learn from the writers who have either got into difficulties or who have a certain vanity in creating them, that I have chosen Meredith as my subject', says Mr. Pritchett at the beginning of these Clark Lectures for 1969. The Meredith who, as Henry James remarked, 'did the best things best', but whose novels some critics have written off, was in some ways the forerunner of the contemporary novel, its erratic movement, its profusion of metaphor.
The essays in Lasting Impressions have never before appeared in book form and together they make up, in the author's own words, a journey through different countries and different generations. The subjects range from Bruce Chatwin and Salmon Rushdie to Simon de Beauvoir and Bernard Shaw, from Lorca and Flaubert to John Updike and Walker Percy, from P. G. Wodehouse and Molly Keane to Andre Malraux and Antoine de Saint-Exupery.