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May news

The Perfect Stranger (2)

This month sees the paperback publication of P. J. Kavanagh’s The Perfect Stranger, a new edition 50 years after the first. P. J. sadly died in August last year, but we were privileged to have worked with him on the republication of this memoir about youth, travel, love and loss. Here is just some of the praise for the book:

‘The writing remains vivid and detailed, full of concise pen portraits … it’s hard to think of a memoir by a male author that describes the experience [of love] with as much honesty, passion and precision.’ David Nicholls

‘A fine memorial to love and youth.’ Michael Frayn

‘One of the best memoirs I have read … humorous and poetic.’ Richard Ingrams

‘I’ve re-read The Perfect Stranger many times and still think it, though unique, a model “of its kind”.’ Derek Mahon

‘To hear the truth so devastatingly and yet so joyfully encountered is rare in an age where autobiography has been flattened by the massed weight of political and public reminiscence. This autobiography, from its beginning to its bitter end, is a celebration of joy: joy in youth, in woman, in male camaraderie, in the struggle of art, in married love.’ Times Literary Supplement

‘[A] remarkable work of prose … It won the Richard Hillary Memorial Prize, for in reality it was a testimony to the absence of the one person who could help him work out the puzzle of life, his wife, Sally’ Independent

‘A joyous yet unsentimental account of Kavanagh’s early life and his few years with Sally. A story of love and tragic loss’ Guardian

‘Not sentimental nor self-pitying but vivid, humorous and bent upon describing a world in which the one person who had seemed to make sense of it had been lost.’ Telegraph

‘A terrific book, vivid, funny and moving … The account of his narrow escape from the great battle in Korea is brilliant, as is in a quite different way the elegiac conclusion to the book.’ David Lodge

‘Patrick Kavanagh’s memoir is a small masterpiece of its kind, reflecting all the wit, unabashed frankness and literary elegance of its author.’ Max Hastings

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Also this month, Sharon Blackie and Angela Kiss appeared at the Swindon Literary Festival, talking about their books If Women Rose Rooted and How to be an Alien in England. Both events were well received, with Angela getting a lovely write up in the Swindon Advertiser.