Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A farewell to Stanley Middleton

Thanks to the all-knowing Dave Lull for alerting me to the sad death, just short of his 90th birthday, of Stanley Middleton.  I've written before of my enthusiasm for Middleton's work.  Despite his winning one of the earliest Booker prizes for his novel Holiday in 1974, Middleton remains perhaps one of the most under-rated of British novelists.  His work is resolutely unfashionable, dealing with middle-class, middle-English, largely uneventful lives.  And yet his prose is capitivating, and his plotting turns the minutiae of everyday living into gripping narratives.

Middleton's death doesn't yet seem to have reached the British press, other than The Guardian.  I hope that other obituaries will appear in due course.  In the meantime, thanks to Dave for drawing my attention to this piece by Ross Bradshaw of Nottingham-based Five Leaves Press, excellent current publishers not only of Middleton's Holiday, but also of a series of splendid short crime books by the likes of John Harvey, Stephen Booth and Lawrence Block. 

Update: Today's Guardian carries an excellent obituary on Middleton, written by Professor Philip Davis, who was himself one of Middleton's pupils. 

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