The Secret History of Modernism

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9780099447061: The Secret History of Modernism

A chance meeting has New Zealand writer Laszlo Winter thinking back to his time in London in the late 1950s. There was Australian Samantha Conlan, fleeing an affair with Freddy Goldstein, who carried with him a dark history. Rajiv was an earnest young Indian at work on a study of Yeats, and Heather was the girl with whom Laszlo exchanged lessons on Shakespeare for lessons in love. There was all of that and more, and then there was Laszlo, knocking blindly among them, despairing at his academic prospects, and gradually realising that he was, would only ever be, a storyteller. Now, years later, from the other side of the world, the people seem to spring to life again, in this beguiling work by one of New Zealand's foremost writers.

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From the Publisher:

The arrival of a stranger at his house in Auckland leads renowned novelist Laslo Winter to look back to the past, to London in the late 1950s. The Empire was collapsing, yet young "colonials," for whom England remained a mythical place, were still drawn there from its farthest corners.

Samantha Conlan has come from Sydney, ostensibly fleeing an affair with married Freddy Goldstein, a Holocaust survivor. But Samantha knows Freddy will come to London; and as she waits for him, she continues her peculiar research into the great writers of the time, in a research project that she names "The Secret History of Modernism." Among her circle of friends and admirers is the young Laslo.

Beautifully written, with wonderful clarity and humor, The Secret History of Modernism reflects on postwar England and its Empire in the wake of the greatest upheaval of the twentieth century.

C. K. Stead was Professor of English at the University of Auckland until 1986. This is his ninth novel. He has also published two volumes of short stories and ten volumes of poetry, along with several volumes of criticism. He lives in Auckland, New Zealand.

From the Inside Flap:

New Zealand writer Laszlo Winter thinks back to his time in London in the late 1950s. The Empire might be finished, but for young ?colonials?, England remains a mythical place that draws them from the farthest corners of the globe.

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