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I love the North London Line, and this was a perfect North London afternoon. There is something magical and breathless about the city in the embrace of an Indian summer, and yesterday I had the joy of experiencing it again when Chris and I went up to town for the launch of the Solaris anthology House of Fear. We spent the afternoon in Kensington, having lunch near Holland Park and then making our way across to Hillsleigh Road and nearby Peel Street, both once home to the writer Anna Kavan.
The hallucination of one moment did not fit the reality of the nextblogPost, 06/03/2012
Iâve written before of how sometimes work, life generally, can wreck my reading of a book. A busy period, a week passes without a page turned, and suddenly a great book has become a chore. I donât remember whatâs going on or who the characters are or why the plot involves a chihuaha*. The book becomes staccato and dissolves into incoherence.
Winter Is Coming: Ice by Anna KavanblogPost, 20/03/2012
From the outset it is obvious that Ice is a novel about obsession but it rapidly becomes clear that it is overwhelmingly about illness.
Christopher Priest: The GlamourblogPost, 10/05/2012
The Glamour (1984) is the novel Priest published after The Affirmation, and it is a development of some of the ideas and themes in that book. It has narrative switches and stories within stories; like The Affirmation it is a work of slipstream fiction, where two worlds â two genres â rub shoulders and even merge. It is also â and here is where Priestâs assertion of genre exploration makes sense â a book which tests and teases the reader of mainstream fiction. It would not be surprising if it was inspired in part by Anna Kavanâs Ice (to which Priest has written a foreword).
Anna Kavan : IceblogPost, 31/03/2011
Anna Kavan is one of those writers Iâve been meaning to read for years, assured that hers was exactly the sort of low-tog-rating fiction I claim to seek. At the same time her most famous novel, Ice, seemed like the sort of book which didnât need to be read at all: one of those where the blurb and chat around it seemed to say all that needed to be said. Itâs easy to summarise but hard to write about: at least thatâs my excuse.
Reality had always been something of an unknown quantity to meblogPost, 06/08/2007
Anna Kavan was the pen-name of Helen Woods (1901-68), a British writer and artist (her self-portrait can be seen here). By all accounts she was a deeply damaged individual: prone to mental illness and a lifelong heroin addict, she attempted suicide several times in the course of her life.
Sunday Caught My InterestblogPost, 03/04/2011
The latter happened when I read John Selfâs review of Anna Kravanâs Ice. I was intrigued by Annaâs story (physiological issues, heroin addiction, renaming herself after one of her own characterâs, etc.) but the book itself didnât seem like my thing. And then I clicked on a book John mentions in the review and found his review of Christopher Priestâs The Affirmation.