Larry McMurtry recommends some Lost Novels

Robert Nedelkoff forwards an article by Larry McMurtry from the 23 June 1975 issue of the Washington Post titled, “Two Novels: One a Find, One Better Lost.”

In it, McMurtry lambasts the Lost American Fiction series from the Southern Illinois University Press for floundering “into an area of dry holes, of which the present volume [Janet Flanner’s The Cubical City] is certainly one of the driest.”

“It is in view of the rich possibilities offered by the ’90s, the teens, the ’30s, the ’40s, the ’50s, etc., that it seems to me time that the series stop futzing around trying to breathe life into ’20s artifacts….”

McMurtry offers some candidates of his own for rediscovery:

· The Aging Boy, by Julian Claman

“Julian Claman’s fine novel The Aging Boy was published in the ’60s, but it is already as lost as The Cubical City, and far less deservingly so.”

· Go in Beauty, by William Eastlake

“William Eastlake’s Go in Beauty is an unknown book, already….”

· No Pockets for a Shroud, by Horace McCoy

“Horace McCoy has a vivid novel that has so far been published in America only in paperback — it’s called No Pockets for a Shroud.”

McMurtry also cites Caroline Gordon, John Sanford, David Stacton [him again!], and Calder Willingham as examples of writers with “lost novels that deserve revival.”

Ironically, the other novel McMurtry reviewed in this article, Maurice Edelman’s Disraeli Rising — the second of an unfinished tritypch that started with Disraeli in Love, both of which he described as “highly readable, well-handled narratives, in which the great and near-great figures of Victorian England appear and disappear” — has also been pushed into a dark corner of neglect.

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