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The Moonlight by Joyce Cary

The Moonlight

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The Moonlight by Joyce Cary

The Moonlight , published in 1946, had an unusual genesis. A number of years before, Joyce Cary had read Tolstoy's The Kreutzer Sonata and found himself in violent disagreement with it, feeling 'that great novel not merely unfair to women, but stupid about them, and stupid about the world in which they had to create their lives.' After some false starts, the novel that finally emerged as The Moonlight is his riposte. In Joyce Cary's own words, 'The essential characters in this book are three women: Rose, left by her mother's death to bring up her sisters; Ella, the youngest, most dependent, and also the most rebellious; and Amanda, Ella's daughter.' The death of Rose triggers painful memories for Ella, memories which force her to confront the tragic consequences of a family's guilt, relentless martyrdom and denial of romantic love. Amanda is struggling with her feminine identity, pressurised by the demands of two seemingly eligible suitors. Protective instincts prompt Ella to guide her, but Ella's sanity is waning and, as she attempts to make good, she invites history to repeat itself. In a letter to the author, Rachel Cecil, the wife of the don and critic, David Cecil, congratulated him, 'I think you do all the women extraordinarily well ...Your imagination and sense of beauty is extraordinary ...I really do think it is a marvellous book.'

About the Author

In the words of his biographer, Alan Bishop, Joyce Cary (1888-1957) was 'a prolific, independent, wide-ranging writer with a place in three literatures (English, Irish, Nigerian) difficult to categorize because his writing integrates the traditional and experimental.' He was difficult to categorize which probably explains why his reputation is not more secure. However he was undoubtedly a major novelist of the twentieth century, and in acknowledgement of that Faber Finds is reissuing twelve of his works - Mister Johnson, Herself Surprised, To Be a Pilgrim, The Horse's Mouth, A Prisoner of Grace, Except the Lord, Not Honour More, Castle Corner, Charley is My Darling, A House of Children, The Moonlight and A Fearful Joy. The Horse's Mouth remains Joyce Cary's most famous novel but this extensive reissue programme will demonstrate to readers this is only one of many equally successful, challenging but entertaining works in his canon.Although never fashionable, Joyce Cary has always had his admirers:'This novelist has exemplified the rule that when a writer dies, he or she may suffer a lapse in attention. You say to someone Joyce Cary and they say Who? . Amazing! He was a marvellous writer, fresh, funny and popping with life.' Doris Lessing'A splendid writer' John Updike'Whenever I am idle I choose a Cary novel in the way that I might seek a friend's company, and it is not long before I am encouraged, inspired to write.' Paul Theroux'To find a novelist who saw more deeply and conveyed more truly you have to go back to Dostoievsky and Tolstoy, Balzac and Goethe, Mann and Hesse ... What makes him a life enhancer is the overwhelming sense the reader gets from him that the universe, for all its horrors and inexplicabilities, makes sense - obvious and glorious sense.' Bernard Levin

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Book Info

Publication date

17th September 2009


Joyce Cary

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Faber Finds an imprint of Faber & Faber


308 pages


Classic fiction (pre c 1945)



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