Thursday, August 11, 2016

Triple Fugue

From Reid's Reader:
Serendipity is always a major part of one’s reading experience. One evening some years back, seeking general diversion, I took from the shelf a battered Pan paperback published in 1947, called Alive – Alive Oh! It consisted of five long short stories by Osbert Sitwell (1892-1969). I began by reading the title one, and thoroughly enjoyed it, partly for its bitchy, fashionable-1920s tone. However, Sitwell’s introduction told me that these five stories were in fact what he regarded as the best from his two short story collections Triple Fugue (1924) and Dumb-Animal and other stories (1930). So I sought both volumes out. The former I also had on my shelves in an old orange-and-white Penguin edition. The latter was retrieved for me from the stacks of the university library. It was a first edition and I was interested to discover that the pages of its longest story (“Happy Endings”) were uncut. I cut them, reflecting on how many books there must be on library shelves and in library stacks which nobody has ever actually read. Here’s a copy of a book printed over eighty years ago; and I’m the first person to crack it. (Read more.)

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