Sunday, 30 September 2012

The Bender

Title: The Bender

Author: Paul Scott

Year of publication: 1963, Panther edition 1975

Back cover blurb: 'Money and love
   George Spruce is suddenly faced with an urgent demand for the repayment of a debt which rocks his entire modest existence, especially since the claimant is his successful brother Tim.  But why is Tim so desperate for money?  Is it because his daughter Gillian, 17, is pregnant by a plumber's mate?  Will George's other brother, the dramatist, Guy, help?  Unlikely.  Guy is too busy satisfying the critics on the one hand and Anina, his houri in a sari, on the other.  In the resolution of George's dilemma, Paul Scott digs deep, intimately and unsparingly into the mind, manners and morals of the metropolis.'

Quick flick reveals:  Scott is best known, of course, for The Jewel in the Crown, but this is an earlier, much different type of novel.  The bender in question is an alcoholic one and not like Boy George or something.  Appears to be a kitchen sink novel revolving around a middle-class sink and drinks cabinet.

Random paragraph: '"I'm going to order more coffee," George said, "and then we can take all you've just said more slowly and point by point.  Would you like another cream bun?"'


Saturday, 22 September 2012

Harris in Wonderland

Title: Harris in Wonderland

Author: Philip Reid

Year of publication: 1973, Penguin edition 1976

Back cover blurb: '"Harris is a chirpy freelance journalist who seems likely to dig up the dirt on a business swindle in which the probable future leader of the (Labour) Opposition was involved.
   Harris finds himself very nearly framed with a drug-smuggling charge, takes accidentally a fearsome acid trip and is nearly murdered before he realizes the kidn of plot that has been laid for him.  Very deft this.  As a bonus, many of the characters have teasing resemblances to 'You-know-who' and 'Whatshisname'" - Daily Telegraph'

Quick flick reveals:  This satirical detective novel is actually written by Andrew Osmond and Richard Ingrams under a pseudonym.  I'm hoping it isn't laced with that somewhat snearing small c conservatism that puts me off Private Eye so much.

Random paragraph: '"Well, you weren't going to look very good explaining to some Welsh copper what you were up to sniffing round a dead hippie on a Welsh mountain top.  Here, have some of this."  He took a quarter bottle of Scotch out of his pocket and passed it to me.  "Make you feel better."'


Saturday, 15 September 2012

Game in Heaven With Tussy Marx

Title: Game in Heaven With Tussy Marx

Author: Piers Paul Read

Year of publication: 1966, Panther edition 1968

Back cover blurb: 'ROLL UP!  ROLL UP!
   Stand alongside Karl's daughter TUSSY MARX and a Dowager Duchess and a Bright Young Man and Peep down on Earth from the Safety of Heaven
   Enjoy the REVOLUTIONARY Antics in London, South America, Iceland, Purgatory, on the Swiss ski-slopes
   See with your own eyes the PROVOCATIVE Behaviour of the Little-Rich Girl
   REVEL in the Hopes of Hereward the Idealist, and Lover of Other Men's Wives
   CHUCKLE at Watkinson the Marxist, Corrupting Capitalism with his own Dissoluteness
   RELISH the GAME IN HEAVEN WITH TUSSY MARX a bizarre, riotous, sexily serious Novel which points a Witty Finger at You and Your Revolution'

Quick flick reveals:  I couldn't get on with Read's later novel The Upstart, but this swingin' Marxism tale looks crazy enough to give him another go.

Random paragraph: 'Hereward might have saved himself at this point if he had said, then and there, "I am a revolutionary and your father is Europe's number one enemy of the peole, latest and I hope last in a long line of industrial barons of unequalled villainy," but the moment passed and the opportunity was lost.'


Thursday, 6 September 2012

See the Kid Run

Title: See the Kid Run

Author: Bob Ottum

Year of publication: 1978, Arrow edition 1981

Back cover blurb: 'The Kid is a child of the city.  He never thinks about violence, cruelty or horror.  He just lives them.
   The Kid lives down there, in the metropolis rubbish heap.  The Kid and his friends - Cat Man, Angel, Jewel - are not just big city children.  They are parasites, hustlers, thieves and killers.  They have to run to survive, cutting down everything and anyone who gets in the way.

Quick flick reveals: Author Bob Ottum (try saying that fast) seemed to specialize in novels about knife-wielding kids who lived in rubbish dumps, and this is the follow-up to the slightly better-remembered The Tuesday Blade.  Has a bit of a Warriors vibe, which is no bad thing.

Random paragraph: '"I broke your teeth?  I did?  I think you've got it all wrong, my boy.  What you mean to say is, you accidentally walked into the wall and broke your teeth.  Isn't that what you mean?"'


Saturday, 1 September 2012


Title: Revelations

Author: Phyllis Naylor

Year of publication: 1979, Sphere edition 1981

Back cover blurb:' MARY
   is unmarried, the secretary of the Faith Holiness congregation, and for thirty-four years has led a model life.  She has nursed her crippled mother, stood by her family when her wild, beloved brother defied the church and fled to California.  And she is resigned to the prospect that life has passed her by... forever.
   Until the sudden arrival of her free-thinking, young nephew throws her world into turmoil.  Bright, affectionate and vulnerable, thirteen-year-old Jake joins forces with Mary's outspoken girlfriend in opposing the gospel according to Faith Holiness.  And sets Mary on the path of deliciously sinful libearation that reveals a funny, feminine personality whose search for fulfilment is strewn with...

Quick flick reveals: Phyllis Naylor is best known as a children's author, notably for the 'Alice' series as novels, and neither her own website or Wikipedia mentions Revelations.  It's almost as if everyone were keeping deliberately quiet about it.  But I am here to tell you that Phyllis Naylor wrote a rude novel in which a man puts his thingy in a lady's thingy and no one can stop me!  Anyway, it all looks rather thoughtful and decent, and probably doesn't deserve being kept in a basement on a chain, living on slop from a bucket.

Random paragraph: 'For a man of Murray's size, she had expected a monstrous phallus.  But the penis was thick and short and stuck out at a perfect right angle to his body.  She could, she mused, hang her dress on it.'