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D. J. Taylor is a writer and critic. He is the author of seven novels: Great Eastern Land (1986); Real Life (1992); English Settlement (1996); Trespass (1998), The Comedy Man (2001), Kept: A Victorian Mystery (2006) and Ask Alice (2009). His books of non-fiction include After the War: The Novel and England Since 1945 (1993); A Vain Conceit: British fiction in the 1980s (1989), and Bright Young People: The Rise and Fall of a Generation 1918-1940. He is also well known for his biographies: Thackeray (1999); and Orwell: The Life, which won the 2003 Whitbread Biography Award.
Author photo © Katie Vandyck
Fifteen short stories, his first collection since 1997 although only five are new. The other ten have been either broadcast and then printed or published in magazines. He is a very fine writer teasing out the idiosyncrasies of his characters in ordinary circumstances, all is neat and tidy and as it should be, beautifully described and then suddenly there is an underlying menace. If you are a short story fan these are glorious. A 'Piece of Passion' from the publisher... 'These stories are a slight departure for Galley Beggar Press. We generally champion less well know writers and - as I’m guessing you already know - DJ Taylor has already made his reputation. It’s also a departure because it's our first collection of short stories. Part of the reason we’ve published it is because we believe that short stories deserve more coverage. This is a book that proves how artistically important and rewarding the form can be. But the main reason we’ve put it out there is simply that it’s bloody good. We love these stories. They’re moving and resonant and quietly haunting - as well as often very funny. Hopefully people will be enjoying them for many years to come.' Sam Jordison, Galley Beggar Press
A witty compilation of entertaining literary spoofs mocking the great and good of British writing. This alternative history of English literature is a perfect Christmas gift for any book lover.
The Times Book of the Year 2019 'You should not deny yourself the pleasure of reading it' Sunday Times 'A remarkable work and an important addition to the extraordinary wartime history of literary London' Literary Review Who were the Lost Girls? At least a dozen or so young women at large in Blitz-era London have a claim to this title. But Lost Girls concentrates on just four: Lys Lubbock, Sonia Brownell, Barbara Skelton and Janetta Parlade. Chic, glamorous and bohemian, as likely to be found living in a rat-haunted maisonette as dining at the Ritz, they cut a swathe through English literary and artistic life in the 1940s. Three of them had affairs with Lucian Freud. One of them married George Orwell. Another became the mistress of the King of Egypt and was flogged by him on the steps of the Royal Palace. And all of them were associated with the decade's most celebrated literary magazine, Horizon, and its charismatic editor Cyril Connolly. Lys, Sonia, Barbara and Janetta had very different - and sometimes explosive personalities - but taken together they form a distinctive part of the war-time demographic: bright, beautiful, independent-minded women with tough upbringings behind them determined to make the most of their lives in a highly uncertain environment. Theirs was the world of the buzz bomb, the cocktail party behind blackout curtains, the severed hand seen on the pavement in the Bloomsbury square, the rustle of a telegram falling through the letter-box, the hasty farewell to another half who might not ever come back, a world of living for the moment and snatching at pleasure before it disappeared. But if their trail runs through vast acreages of war-time cultural life then, in the end, it returns to Connolly and his amorous web-spinning, in which all four of them regularly featured and which sometimes complicated their emotional lives to the point of meltdown. The Lost Girls were the product of a highly artificial environment. After it came to an end - on Horizon's closure in 1950 - their careers wound on. Later they would have affairs with dukes, feature in celebrity divorce cases and make appearances in the novels of George Orwell, Evelyn Waugh, Anthony Powell and Nancy Mitford. The last of them - Janetta - died as recently as three months ago. However tiny their number, they are a genuine missing link between the first wave of newly-liberated young women of the post-Great War era and the Dionysiac free-for-all of the 1960s. Hectic, passionate and at times unexpectedly poignant, this is their story.