Doug Anderson Recommends Some Neglected Titles

December 9th, 2007

Doug Anderson of the Blue Guitar Press writes to offer a few suggestions for books well worth rediscovering:

· The Junior Bachelor Society by John A. Williams

Williams has a tendency to go overboard racially (in my opinion); that is Black = oppressed and Good vs White = oppressor and Bad, but sometimes he overcomes this tendency and knocks it out of the park. A couple more titles come to mind: Mothersill and the Foxes and Captain Blackman. Thudermouth Press, recognizing a neglected writer, brought out a few of his novels in the 80s, including his one critical success, The Man Who Cried I Am. He still didn’t catch any kind of popular or critical wave. With !Click Song a racial bitterness sets in though not more so than many another Post War African American writer.

· William Hickling Prescott’s History of the Reign of Ferdinand and Isabella and History of the Reign of Philip the Second

I would like to see a university press or some adventurous small press reprint William Hickling Prescott’s History of the Reign of Ferdinand and Isabella and History of the Reign of Philip the Second published in the mid 19th century by Lippencott & Co – three volumes under each title. These are general histories and yes, written by the quintessential white male of old. Even so, anyone looking for perspective on a world-dominant America can’t go wrong reading about Europe’s first powerful empire after the fall of Rome. Prescott is always readable, informative and, blush blush, that horrible word: entertaining.

· The Tinieblas Trilogy”by R.M. Koster

Koster wrote these wild wonderful novels (The Prince, The Dissertation, Mandragon) about his fictional Central America in the 1970s and then reality gobbled them up and turned them into non-fiction in the 1980s. Even so they are great books. Full of life and expert writing they enthrall and delight. They might not be forgotten but they are way, way under appreciated.

· An unclassifiable novel: What the Maid Saw: Eight Psychic Tales, by Yasutaka Tsutsui, translated by Adam Kabat, published by Kodansha Intl in 1990

Say I could only use the word “riveting” once, for one book that I have read in my life until now; I would use it for this novel: riveting. [Tsutsui has several other books available in English translation, including the memorably-titled Salmonella Men from Planet Porno. — Ed.]

Doug adds a last recommendation taken from one of this site’s Sources:

I note that you site Anthony Burgess as a source for overlooked novels. How about Burgess himself? Does anyone read his M/F at all? I found it larky and generous and full of mischief – but – seemingly, very unread.

I assumed that Burgess is now solidly fixed in the ranks of writers critically recognized and perennially in print, but a quick search on a few of my own favorites among his many novels — the Enderby tetralogy, Napoleon Symphony, and ABBA ABBA — reveals that most are, in fact, available only as second-hand copies.

2 Responses to “Doug Anderson Recommends Some Neglected Titles”

  1. Robt Ned Says:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/12/05/db0501.xml
    is the obituary of Anthony Burgess’ widow, who also acted as his agent. It seems worth noting that she started in this capacity around 1970. All his books still in print in the US, with Norton, were published before then.

  2. editor Says:

    Very interesting connection you made, Robert. Perhaps we might see a revival in a year or two.

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