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Anna Kavan, 'Julia and the Bazooka': a critique

blogPost, 15/12/2013

Writers such as Brian Aldiss and J.G. Ballard have praised the writings of Anna Kavan, but I find her work uneven – I couldn’t get beyond the first few pages of self-indulgent, rambling dream visions in Sleep Has His House, first published in 1948. Julia and the Bazooka is also uneven, but serves as a good introduction to the qualities (and weaknesses) of Kavan’s fiction.

Christopher Priest: The Glamour

blogPost, 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 – two genres – rub shoulders and even merge. It is also – and here is where Priest’s assertion of genre exploration makes sense – a book which tests and teases the reader of mainstream fiction. It would not be surprising if it was inspired in part by Anna Kavan’s Ice (to which Priest has written a foreword).

Anna Kavan : brilliant like ice

blogPost, 29/09/2011

Her descriptions burned so brightly when I first began reading the work of Anna Kavan that I felt a kinship with her almost at once. I have sometimes wandered past her last home in Peel Street, London, in pilgrimage. The novels and memoirs stand on my shelves: I came across Ice first, then Asylum Piece and My Madness, then Let me Alone, Julia and the Bazooka with its 1960s hip bohemianism, and Sleep Has His House.

Sunday Caught My Interest

blogPost, 03/04/2011

The latter happened when I read John Self’s review of Anna Kravan’s Ice. I was intrigued by Anna’s story (physiological issues, heroin addiction, renaming herself after one of her own character’s, etc.) but the book itself didn’t seem like my thing. And then I clicked on a book John mentions in the review and found his review of Christopher Priest’s The Affirmation.

Bibliography: the seed

blogPost, 13/05/2013

This is the first mention of Anna Kavan in my writing. During a panel, after a discussion turned to authors and addictions, a student approached the microphone and asked “What about Anna Kavan? She wrote Julia and the Bazooka, which is about her heroin addiction.”

I Am Lazarus: Stories by Anna Kavan

blogPost, 07/01/2015

Unlike Julia and the Bazooka, this collection of Kavan’s short fiction was originally published during her lifetime, and the significance of this distinction is clear. This book is more balanced, with most if not all of the stories written during a period of Kavan’s life in wartime London following her return from living abroad. While there are a few that stray beyond the more obvious parallels to Kavan’s experience, such as the gothic tale ‘The Brother’ and the horror snapshot ‘The Gannets’, most stories here reflect that distinct time in her life.

Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions N. XXXVIII (Spinrad + Harrison + Kavan + Effinger)

blogPost, 19/09/2012

Ah, when I have access to a massive inexpensive catalogue (Marx Books) the quality of my finds goes up and up…..

"Neige" de Anna Kavan aux Editions Cambourakis

blogPost, 06/11/2013

Une romancière singulière, un roman autre. L’appel de la blanche, de la poudreuse, en avalanche. Au creux de chaque ligne, une neige hypnotique et virginale délestant toute trace de vie.

Winter Is Coming: Ice by Anna Kavan

blogPost, 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.

Anna Kavan, 'The Parson': a critique -

blogPost, 16/12/2013

I wrote about Anna Kavan and her story collection Julia and the Bazooka on this blog yesterday. Born in Cannes in 1901, Kavan died in 1968. The Parson was discovered among her papers and published posthumously. It seems to have been written in the late 50s-early 60s.

My Last Heather and Ivan Morison Puppet Show

blogPost, 06/06/2012

As part of their exhibition, Anna, at The Hepworth Wakefield, Heather and Ivan Morison asked a number of Visitor Services Assistants to enact their (the artists’) interpretation of the novel Ice by Anna Kavan (following strict instructions) using specially created puppets. The show was 22 minutes long and took place every Saturday and Wednesday at 3.00.

Winstons dad’s been to library

blogPost, 03/05/2012

Guilty by Anna Kavan – I think after reading Max’s post on Ice by Kavan I fancied trying here books so there was ice and this one on the library shelves so I choose this one a Kafkaesque style as mark struggles with life after his father returns from the war

these are a few of my favourite…

blogPost, 12/03/2008

Books are our best friends. And they hardly ever let us down. I find second hand books especially fascinating, they have a life of their own…and you can find the weirdest things forgotten between the pages, such as old creepy letters, black & white pictures, postcards from 20, 30, 40 years ago…


blogPost, 28/09/2011

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 next

blogPost, 06/03/2012

I’ve 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 don’t remember what’s going on or who the characters are or why the plot involves a chihuaha*. The book becomes staccato and dissolves into incoherence.

Cold print

blogPost, 21/10/2009

This time of year I usually re-read Ray Bradbury’s The October Country because . . . well, do I really need to explain why? But Jonathan Lethem is looking ahead to winter with a list of his favorite icy books.

Anna Kavan

blogPost, 25/07/2010

whenever i discover an artist who has something to say that i want to hear, i’m firstly grateful for their work having found me & then i’m sort of shocked that it’s taken so long, & left wondering where they’ve been all my life. i just bought a brand new 2009 reprint of anna kavan‘s ‘julia & the bazooka‘ for 2.99 from a bookshop in waterloo.

In the Frame for May

blogPost, 08/05/2012

Having recently seen a body of contemporary artwork work by Heather and Ivan Morrison inspired by the life and work of the novelist Anna Kavan (1901-1968), on display at The Hepworth Wakefield until 10 June, the Archivist has written the following about Kavan’s portrait of Luz, the ‘elusive protagonist’ of her novels Ice and Mercury:

A 20th century author I had never read before…

blogPost, 17/06/2008

This brings me to a writer of the World War II and mid twentieth century periods, Anna Kavan. There is also a web-site about her work. Guilty (2007) was in fact written much earlier.


blogPost, 29/08/2014

This is the first time I’ve read an Anna Kavan novel, which, given the brief biography on the book’s rear, seems amazing: a heroin addict for most of her adult life; time spent in mental asylums; changed her name to that of one of her characters. How the hell did I miss her?

Review: Ice, Anna Kavan

blogPost, 28/06/2011

When I picked up this book, all I knew about it was that it was apocalyptic. I certainly didn’t realise that the apocalyptic scenario in fact plays out a sinister psychological dreamscape, where the boundaries between interior and exterior, real and imagined, hallucination and daydream, sadistic wish-fulfillment and physical injury, are utterly erased. That was a shock. But whilst Kavan’s Ice turned out to be far more disconcerting than I’d anticipated, it certainly wasn’t disappointing.

Kavan’s place in NZ literary history (by Lawrence Jones)

blogPost, 31/05/2009

NNA KAVAN is probably known in New Zealand, if at all, primarily for her rather unflattering portrait of the country in “New Zealand: Answer to an Inquiry,” published in 1943 in Horizon. This book, the fruit of eight years of research by Jennifer Sturm, has attempted to change that situation, to bring about the recognition of “Kavan’s role in the literary history of New Zealand.”

Ice Cubes, Iced Tea, and Icebergs

blogPost, 18/07/2012

I think I’ll reread Anna Kavan’s Ice, a surreal science fiction novel about a post-apocalyptic Ice Age. The narrator is obsessed with a beautiful girl, who flees from him all over the planet.

‘Senin’ okumanı istediklerimden : ANNA KAVAN , Buz.

blogPost, 2009

(Helen Woods), 1901′de bir İngiliz ailesinin çocuğu olarak Fransa, Cannes’da doğdu. Zengin bir baba ile çocuğunu hem ezen hem de inkâr eden bir annenin kızıydı. 14 yaşındayken, babası ona “hayat boyu yalnızlık” bırakarak öldü. Kavan’ın müreffeh ama sevgisiz çocukluğu Avrupa ve California’da geçti. Yazmaya ilk kocası Donald Ferguson’la birlikte yaşadığı Burma’da (şimdiki Birmanya) başladı. Anna Kavan adını “Women’s Liberation için öncü bir çaba” olarak nitelenen Beni Rahat Bırak romanının kadın kahramanından aldı. Kavan, kahramanın nefret ettiği ve küçümsediği kocasının soyadıydı.

2666 and what I learned from Anna Kavan

blogPost, 28/05/2009

Right now I’m reading Ice by Anna Kavan. Scant 150 pages of flat characterization and a fantastic, visceral, amorphous ice world that includes a dragon.

Anna Kavan : Neige | oedipe purple

blogPost, 28/01/2014

Il était essentiel pour moi de la trouver sans délai. La situation était alarmante, l’atmosphère tendue, la crise imminente. La rumeur courait d’un acte secret d’agression de la part de quelque puissance étrangère, mais personne ne savait au juste ce qui s’était passé.

Anna Kavan : Ice

blogPost, 31/03/2011

Anna Kavan is one of those writers I’ve 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 didn’t 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. It’s easy to summarise but hard to write about: at least that’s my excuse.


blogPost, 07/11/2011

Two Ravens Press are now taking orders for Murmurations – An Anthology of Uncanny Stories About Birds, edited by Nicholas Royle.

Neige, d’Anna Kavan

blogPost, 20/11/2013

La britannique Anna Kavan fait partie des écrivains qui se sont forgé un personnage, un masque, une façade qui est devenue partie intégrante de leur œuvre – ce n’est pas pour rien si en 1939 elle fait rayer de l’État civil son nom de baptême pour adopter l’identité de l’un de ses personnages.