'JOYOUS . . . READERS WILL LOVE THIS FASCINATING BOOK' CATHY RENTZENBRINK
'A GODSEND WITH THE PRESENT SEASON APPROACHING' IRISH INDEPENDENT
'THE PERFECT GIFT FOR A BOOK-OBSESSED FRIEND' STYLIST, 50 UNMISSABLE BOOKS FOR AUTUMN 2017
'EXCELLENT . . . SHOULD BE READ BY ANYONE WHO LOVES BOOKS' EVENING STANDARD
Absence doesn't make the heart grow fonder. It makes people think you're dead.
So begins Christopher Fowler's foray into the back catalogues and backstories of 99 authors who, once hugely popular, have all but disappeared from our shelves.
Whether male or female, domestic or international, flash-in-the-pan or prolific, mega-seller or prize-winner - no author, it seems, can ever be fully immune from the fate of being forgotten. And Fowler, as well as remembering their careers, lifts the lid on their lives, and why they often stopped writing or disappeared from the public eye.
These 99 journeys are punctuated by 12 short essays about faded once-favourites: including the now-vanished novels Walt Disney brought to the screen, the contemporary rivals of Sherlock Holmes and Agatha Christie who did not stand the test of time, and the women who introduced us to psychological suspense many decades before it conquered the world.
This is a book about books and their authors. It is for book lovers, and is written by one who could not be a more enthusiastic, enlightening and entertaining guide.
'A BIBLIOPHILE'S DREAM' FINANCIAL TIMES
'WILL HAVE READERS SCURRYING INTO SECONDHAND BOOKSHOPS' GUARDIAN
Fowler's quirky book is an ode to musty paperbacks and a testament to the idea that "real readers don't forget." Consisting of 100 short articles and 12 essays on "forgotten" authors that is, those whose books are hard to obtain and whose names "drew blank looks" from Fowler's focus group of fellow book lovers the work covers writers that include early 20th-century realist James Hanley, whose novel cycle the Furys, about a working-class family's downfall, was compared to Conrad and Dostoyevsky, and Richard Marsh, a prolific Victorian (and reformed con-artist playboy) whose macabre tale of shape-shifting and hypnotism, The Beetle, is "worth reading in tandem with Dracula," which it initially outsold. Often, these writers toiled as screenwriters as well (many contributed scripts or stories to Alfred Hitchcock Presents, among them George Langelaan, John Collier, and Cornell Woolrich), and some frankly are less forgotten than others (Richard Condon, author of The Manchurian Candidate, appears here, as does T.H. White, author of The Once and Future King). But even famous authors have forgotten work, it seems, as the essay on Dickens suggests (Fowler points to his coauthored works Mugby Junction and The Haunted House). While Fowler's short articles make this a bit fatiguing to read cover-to-cover, readers interested in exploring out-of-print fiction and other literary curiosities will find this to be a valuable and entertaining guide.