Gary Dexter

Surprising literary ventures | 16 August 2006

Cry Shame (1950) by Katherine Everard Cry Shame! is the torrid tale of a 13-year- old girl who leaves home to become a dancer: in her brief career she learns things she is too young to know, runs off with a man four times her age, assiduously breaks the seventh commandment, has an affair with

Surprising literary ventures | 3 August 2006

ZABIBA AND THE KING (2000) by Saddam Hussein The first of several novels by the world’s bestselling war criminal, Zabiba and the King is a clunking allegory in which the king represents Saddam, Zabiba (a beautiful maiden) represents the Iraqi people, and Zabiba’s abusive husband represents the USA. Most of the book is presented in

Surprising literary ventures | 17 December 2005

The Devil’s Own Song and Other Verses (1968) by Quintin Hogg The Devil’s Own Song and Other Verses (1968)by Quintin Hogg Yes, that Quintin Hogg, Lord Hailsham of Woolsack fame. ‘Quite suddenly, during the summer of 1940, my personal and emotional situation was such that I felt an irresistible urge to write short lyrics,’ he

Surprising literary ventures | 10 December 2005

Answers to Cancer (1962)by William Gaddis The William Gaddis canon is limited to five novels (The Recognitions, J. R., Carpenter’s Gothic, A Frolic of his Own and Agapé Agape), now recognised to be among the most distinguished in American literature. His career got off to a bad start, though. His first novel The Recognitions (1955)

Surprising literary ventures | 3 December 2005

The Passing Show (1937)by Captain W. E. Johns The story behind this one-off by the author of the ‘Biggles’ books is probably best told by the editor of My Garden magazine in 1937, Theo A. Stephens: ‘The offices of My Garden were next door to those of Popular Flying, of which paper Captain Johns was,

Surprising literary ventures | 26 November 2005

James Burnham and the Managerial Revolution (1946)by George Orwell Managerial revolution? What next? The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Polem- icists? Luckily, no. This is the cover of a rare pamphlet by Orwell on the American political theorist James Burnham, who in 1940 wrote The Managerial Revolution, in which he speculated that the heirs to

Surprising literary ventures | 19 November 2005

The Normal and Adventitious Danger Periods for Pulmonary Disease in Children (1913) by William Carlos Williams The great American modernist poet William Carlos Williams was also a full-time paediatrician. He received his MD in 1906 and practised continuously until 1951. The rare booklet above is among his small corpus of medical writings, appearing originally in

Surprising literary ventures | 12 November 2005

The Exploits of Mr Saucy Squirrel (1976) by Woodrow Wyatt LORD WYATT of Weeford, Chairman of the Tote, the ‘Voice of Reason’, and the only member of the British peerage whose cigars could remain alight underwater, says in the preface to this tale, ‘Mr Saucy Squirrel has an alert and enquiring mind. That is how

Surprising literary ventures | 5 November 2005

Lecherous Limericks (1975) by Isaac Asimov Isaac Asimov’s ambition was to have a book in every one of the major Dewey Decimal categories. This one fits in the category labelled ‘dirty poems’. It’s a collection of 100 original limericks dealing with what Asimov called ‘actions and words concerning which society pretends nonexistence — reproduction, excretion,

Surprising literary ventures | 29 October 2005

Trilogy(1978) by Leonid Brezhnev Leonid Brezhnev produced the standard documents for a Soviet leader: speeches, articles and Leninophiliac tracts. In 1978 he added three books of jaunty memoirs: Little Land, Rebirth and The Virgin Lands, which told of his part in the Great Patriotic War and its immediate aftermath. Sample scenes include him single-handedly repelling

Surprising literary ventures | 22 October 2005

David Cameron (1950) by George Frederick Clarke David Cameron is what one might call a hatchet job. Written by one G. F. Clarke, it’s the tale of a simple Scottish lad sold into slavery in the New World, who escapes and leads a life of adventure in the wild fighting of the various tribes, finally

Surprising literary ventures | 15 October 2005

The Recipe Book of the Mustard Club (1926) Dorothy L. Sayers And he replied: ‘The flames unquenchableThat fire them from within thus make them burnRuddy, as thou seest, in this, the Nether Hell.’ It is unlikely that when Dorothy L. Sayers produced the lines above she was thinking of mustard: unlikely, but not impossible. The

Surprising literary ventures | 8 October 2005

Oriri (1940) Marie Stopes Marie Stopes, the birth control campaigner and author of Married Love, was notoriously plain-speaking (‘Never put in your vagina anything that you would not put in your mouth,’ she told the bemused, mainly male readers of The Lancet in 1938). Her sexual frankness was central to her campaigning success — but

Surprising literary ventures | 1 October 2005

The Big Green Book (1962) by Robert Graves The Big Green Book (1962) by Robert Graves The Big Green Book, a children’s story illustrated by Maurice Sendak (before he won fame with Where the Wild Things Are), contains some familiar Gravesian themes. Jack, an orphan, finds a big green book of magic in the attic

Surprising literary ventures

War With Honour (1940) by A. A. Milne Alan Milne rather resented being known only as the author of Winnie-the-Pooh. As he liked to point out, he had also written plays, novels and non-fiction. Among his works in the latter category was Peace with Honour (1934), which called on Britain to avoid war with Germany