I’m toying with Iris Murdoch (Under the Net) or Evelyn Waugh (Vile Bodies/ Decline and Fall) for the next column. Despite the memoirs and the film and the various attending hoopla, Murdoch is unknown both as novelist and philosopher. Her first couple of books are great oddities about morality and action. Waugh is another of those novelists from the early Twentieth Century whose name recognition outweighs his popularity. I think he is a giant of British writing but you’d be hardpressed to find someone who had read more than Brideshead Revisited. His Men At Arms trilogy is really stunning, the early novels are punchy and satirical and funny, and even late strange pieces like The Loved One deserve to be compared to Graham Greene for their black humour and amorality.
However at the moment Derek Raymond’s He Died With His Eyes Open, just about to be reissued by Serpent’s Tail, is leading the running. Time Out want the column to be more London-based but I’ll be keeping the blog more general than that.