Showing posts from September, 2019

An invitation to the examined life

This is Claude Houghton a selection of whose novels have been re-published by Valancourt Books part of whose mission is to allow over-looked authors a second run at being noticed and (re) appreciated.

For it is undoubtedly true that Houghton was appreciated in his time (the1930s-50s) most especially for his early novels where psychological insight and a sense of metaphysical inquiry unfolded against a background of mystery. He was praised by such as Graham Greene, Henry Miller and J.B. Priestley and, I think, now having read two - 'I am Jonathan Scrivener' and 'This was Ivor Trent' deservedly so.

Ivor Trent is a novelist who on the cusp of starting a new work tells everyone that he is going abroad to write but, in truth, goes to a lodging house in Chelsea, where he keeps a quiet upstairs flat. It is, he finds, the only place he can write - a 'superstition' that proves self-reinforcing. On hi…