Isabel Colegate, Melissa Harrison
The masterpiece of one of the most important and overlooked British women writers of the twentieth century, with a new introduction by Melissa Harrison; ‘Isabel Colegate has no rival’ (The Times)
‘If you are curious as to why Britain is still ruled by a tiny cadre of not-very-introspective aristo-capitalists, Orlando King is essential reading’ Sunday Times
‘Colegate’s sharp-eyed trilogy about a young man on the make in 1930s London feels particularly resonant right now, given its acute take on male privilege and power’ i paper, Summer Reading Picks 2020
‘An extraordinary achievement’ Frances Wilson, Times Literary Supplement, Summer Reading Picks 2020
Orlando King is a trilogy about a beautiful young man, raised in a remote and eccentric wilderness, arriving in 1930s London and setting the world of politics ablaze. In a time of bread riots and hunger marches, with the spectre of Fascism casting an ever lengthening shadow over Europe, Orlando glidingly cuts a swathe through the thickets of business, the corridors of politics, the pleasure gardens of the Cliveden set, acquiring wealth, adulation, a beautiful wife, and a seat in Parliament. But the advent of war brings with it Orlando’s downfall; and his daughter Agatha, cloistered with him in his banishment, is left to pick through the rubble of his smoking, ruined legacy.
Elegant and muscular, powerful and razor-sharp, Orlando King is a bildungsroman, Greek tragedy and political saga all in one; a glittering exorcism of the inter-war generation’s demons to rival the work of Evelyn Waugh and Muriel Spark.
A joy to read * Sunday Times on Orlando King * Miss Colegate has before proved herself not only precise in her evocation of periods but also gifted with that sympathy that makes hindsight genuinely more rewarding than topical observation ... There is hardly a sentence to fault, or a snatch of dialogue to improve on * Times Literary Supplement on Orlando King * She should be a household name -- Eleanor Catton It makes a direct impact because it is a succession of clear pictures or striking statements; it has sharply outlined characters, definite situations, dramatic pauses; and its story line leads through a tangle of incidents to a climax that has the weight of inevitability * New York Times on Orlando King * Colegate's instinctive feel for the values and obsessions of the upper echelons of English, society is heightened by the ironic distance she inserts between herself and her conservative yet eccentric cast of characters, the end result has the unstoppable momentum of an upper crust potboiler * Irish Times on Orlando King * Colegate's prose is flowing and unpretentious. She tells an excellent tale * Daily Telegraph on The Blackmailer * Combine the slightly offbeat sensibility of Muriel Spark with the milieu of an Iris Murdoch novel and you'll have something of an idea about this witty tale -- Lucy Scholes * BBC Culture on The Blackmailer * Subtle and graceful ... Miss Colegate is beautifully precise and invests that sticky feverish time with just the right mixture of doomed fun, melancholy and faintly lascivious despair * Observer on Statues in a Garden * She writes so gracefully and with such skill that her "private fable" acquires a truly fabulous quality * Times Literary Supplement on Statues in a Garden * Miss Colegate has found a perfect metaphor for the passing of a way of life * Spectator on The Shooting Party * Poised, wry, lovable, informative ... An utterly complete rendering of a way of life * Gail Godwin on The Shooting Party * A beautifully crafted novel, remarkably visual and evocative. The characters are caught in stunning images and tableaux that convey the essence of their natures, the sweep of their emotions * Washington Post on The Shooting Party * A lovely piece of writing, in which subtlety, irony, and close observation abound -- Larry McMurtry on The Shooting Party Stylish, funny, as vivid and brilliant as a painting on glass * Daily Telegraph on The Shooting Party * Threads of romance, social comment, country lore and intrigue both above and below stairs are cunningly worked together to create a brilliant tapestry ... I have seldom enjoyed a book so much * Sunday Telegraph on The Shooting Party * Remarkable ... I can think of no work of fiction that brings [this period] to life so fully and subtly * Washington Post on The Shooting Party * 'Isabel Colegate is not afraid of ideas nor of using fiction to express them ... In this rich and fascinating book, someone is hiding something - possibly everyone is. Time itself obscures the truth. Can the past be known? Or is what we call history the best of recollection, not absolute but consensual, and always subject to interpretation? * LA Times on Deceits of Time * A sonorous and muted masterpiece * The Times on Winter Journey *
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