Alan JUDD The Devil's own work

ISBN 13: 9780002238328

The Devil's own work

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( 122 ratings by Goodreads )
 
9780002238328: The Devil's own work

"More chills in its little length than in a whole shelf of bestsellers." - Stephen King

"At once moral fable, cautionary ghost story and inspired attack on the whole hellbent drift of modern letters, this is a splendid tale, splendidly told, which Ford or Henry James would have been glad to have written." - Robert Nye, Guardian

"Wry and insightful . . . toys with the notion of demonic possession but becomes a thoroughly realistic and highly original story of revenge; a chilling cautionary tale." - Elaine Kendall, Los Angeles Times

"A brief return to the world of Faust, Mephistopheles and the Devil pact. Mr. Judd . . . achieves a deep polish." - Robert Grudin, The New York Times Book Review

After Edward, a rising young author, pens a savage review of the new novel by the world-famous O.M. Tyrell, he is surprised to receive an invitation to visit the old man at his villa in the south of France. The night of their meeting, Tyrell dies, and soon after, Edward's career mysteriously starts to soar as he earns fame, fortune and critical acclaim. But despite his achievements, Edward seems haunted, even tormented. His friend, the narrator, begins to put together the pieces of the story: an ancient, inscrutable manuscript, a beautiful, ageless woman who attaches herself to any writer who possesses it, and a bargain to achieve success at a terrible price . . .

Winner of Britain's prestigious Guardian Fiction Prize, Alan Judd's modern classic The Devil's Own Work (1991) is, as Owen King writes in the new introduction to this edition, "a perfect novel about the demonic possession that is literary ambition." This edition also features a new afterword by the author, in which he reveals the inspirations for this haunting tale.

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Review:

This modern version of the Faust legend has an old man of letters pass down to a young writer an ancient manuscript which bestows the gift of easy literary style and fluency -- and consequently head-turning success -- while blocking entirely any genuine creative power. To underline the devilishness of the bargain, the young author is seen to gradually throw away normal human decency as he gives in to overwhelming self-indulgence, and comes under the sensual sway of the old man's seductive mistress. On one level then, pure Faust. On another, Alan Judd's book, winner of the 1991 Guardian Fiction Prize, is a sophisticated self-referential commentary on the cliquish post-modern literary scene. This stylish and substantial novel is a clever attack on those who elevate insubstantial style.

From Kirkus Reviews:

Judd's fifth novel (Tango, 1990, etc.), winner of a Guardian Fiction Prize in England, pays self-conscious homage to Ford Madox Ford's classic, The Good Soldier, as befits a book by a Ford biographer. As in The Good Soldier, the novel is recounted by an unnamed narrator, an unassuming secondary school teacher who tells readers about the rise and fall of his friend Edward. At the outset, Edward is a promising young writer who makes a major leap in his career with a scathing essay about O.M. Tyrrel, the aged ``doyen of English letters.'' The reclusive Tyrrel unexpectedly invites Edward to interview him at his home on the French Riviera. At the end of their interview, Tyrrel gives him a mysterious and incomprehensible manuscript, then keels over dead. Not long after, Edward begins a meteoric rise, enjoying both critical and popular success, and becomes involved with the seemingly ageless Eudoxie, who was Tyrrel's mistress. The narrator and Edward remain friends, but there are strange phenomena surrounding Edward and his household, including the mysterious noise of a pen writing whenever he is thinking about work and the peculiar behavior of Eudoxie. Gradually, the narrator learns the secret of the manuscript and the woman who comes with it. He discovers that his wife and Edward have had an affair, which ultimately causes her to have a breakdown. Edward declines into morbid old age. In his final encounter with the narrator, he reveals the secret of his success before passing the manuscript on to another writer. Ironically, his critical reputation declines, as Tyrrel's had, after his death. Judd seems to intend his tale as an allegory about the price of success, but the connections are strained and the plotting predictable. An uneasy, unhappy, and unproductive mix of Ford Madox Ford and Stephen King. -- Copyright ©1994, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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Alan Judd
Published by HarperCollins Publishers Ltd 20/06/1991 (1991)
ISBN 10: 0002238322 ISBN 13: 9780002238328
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Book Description HarperCollins Publishers Ltd 20/06/1991, 1991. Hardcover. Book Condition: Very Good. Light knock to base front board. Contents clean. Book. Bookseller Inventory # 126835-6

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JUDD, Alan
Published by HarperCollins (1991)
ISBN 10: 0002238322 ISBN 13: 9780002238328
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Book Description HarperCollins, 1991. Hardcover. Book Condition: Very Good. Dust Jacket Condition: Very Good. Second Printing. A Good Read ships from Toronto and Niagara Falls, NY - customers outside of North America please allow two to three weeks for delivery. Clipped d/j, tanning to text. ; 8.30 X 5.20 X 0.70 inches; 96 pages. Bookseller Inventory # 132333

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