“Mr. Burgess has invented complex, varying people, and he has moved them well, giving them much to suffer and to do. . . .In the closing pages, Burgess has set off a wild joke in which all his themes―poetry, England, race, love―crackle and sparkle in a gloriously funny surprise. . . .The book is. . .a nicely controlled examination of some human predicaments that is cunningly disguised as entertainment.” ―Naomi Bliven, New YorkerThe playground of Mr. Burgess’ humor is a city to which his hero, Denham, J. W., businessman, forty, British, returns on leave from the Far East to find the face of England hardened into a standardized grimace. He is appalled by his observations in all quarters of cheapness, shallowness, vice. He is appalled also by monotony. But monotony reigns only briefly. Soon Everett, the broken-down poet, and Winterbottom, the printer, have involved him in affairs which put a strain on his holiday spirit. And with the appearance of Mr. Raj, Ceylonese gentleman, persistent lecher and unflagging sociologist, speed quickens and control diminishes as Denham is carried helpless down the homestretch of his grueling comic course. Mr. Burgess’ humor stems from the depth of life rather than from its surface. His people are so vividly alive, and the anger, laughter and melodrama of their experiences so affecting that their story takes on dimension rare in novels so thoroughly entertaining.
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Anthony Burgess (1917–1993) is the author of many works, including A Clockwork Orange, The Wanting Seed, Nothing Like the Sun, Honey for the Bears, The Long Day Wanes, The Doctor Is Sick, and ReJoyce.
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