Thursday, 31 August 2017

Notes from Eve Abbey ~ August 2017

I have been enjoying I’d Die for You and Other Lost Stories a collection of eighteen unpublished short stories by F.Scott Fitzgerald now published in a very fashionable pale green hardback with an interesting introduction by Anne Margaret Daniel. This is a book not only for Fitzgerald fans but also for aspiring writers. From letters Fitzgerald wrote to his agent Harold Ober they can see how Fitzgerald reluctantly adjusted his style to fit the demands of editors at Saturday Evening Post or Colliers, magazines which at that time published short stories and paid well for them also. There are photos of his altered manuscripts as well as photos of the man himself. Anne Margaret Daniel is a lecturer at the New School University in New York and has published extensively on Fitzgerald.

Her remarks in the Introduction and Editorial Notes amount to a mini biography. There are thirty pages of Explanatory Notes which, to me, just goes to show that Fitzgerald’s writing is now looked at in an historical context. This is a good time to remind you of A. Scott Berg’s book Max Perkins: Editor of Genius which has been reissued. I think a movie is on its way. Perkins was more than an editor – more a private counsellor and adviser not only to F.Scott Fitzgerald but to many other literary luminaries of that time including Hemingway and Thomas Wolfe. His own life was rather tempestuous also.

Max Perkins: Editor of Genius by A. Scott Berg

Howard Jacobson’s latest pot-boiler called Pussy: A Novel is not for everyone. It is a satire on a Particular Prominent Person and very funny. A sense of humour is needed as you follow the adventures of Prince Fracassus, heir to the Duchy of Origen and his tutor Professor Kolskeggur Probrius. Illustrations by Chris Riddell.

Pussy: A Novel by Howard Jacobson

We had a nice launching party at Abbey’s for a book about Ukrainian migrants by Olga Chaplin a member of a well-known family. It is called The Man From Talalaivka: A Story of Love, Life and Loss from Ukraine. A true story of a family cast off their farm by Stalin, sheltering from bombs in a Displaced Persons camp in Germany and finally making a new life in Australia. Very moving.

The Man From Talalaivka by Olga Chaplin

There are two excellent new science books for children (and others). They are Do Not Lick this Book by Idan Ben-Barak and Julian Frost. An amusing illustrated story about all the microbes on your skin. Probably best not to give it to a finicky child! The other is The Invisible War: A Tale on Two Scales by Ailsa Wild, Ben Hutchings, Briony Barr and Gregory Crocetti published by Scale Free Network and set during the First World War. The wonderful illustrations tell two stories - first from the view of a Victorian nurse aiding the troops and second from the view of gut microbes which fight to keep her body alive when she contracts dysentery.

Keep well,


Since 1968 ~ Abbey's 131 York Street Sydney ~ An Aladdin's cave for readers

Abbey's ~ An Aladdin's cave for readers