Out now in paperback
IN PATAGONIA by Bruce Chatwin (Vintage €13.99) BRUCE CHATWIN was described by his editor, Susannah Clapp, as ‘a connoisseur of the extraordinary’.
When he died in 1989, aged 48, he had published half a dozen books, of which the first, In Patagonia, redefined travel writing.
Framed as the story of Chatwin’s quest to discover the origins of a small piece of hairy skin, supposedly ‘a piece of brontosaurus’, that was displayed in a cabinet in his grandmother’s house, In Patagonia is a vivid and exhilarating collage of stories, character sketches and history.
During his lifetime and for a while after his death, the success of Chatwin’s writing seemed inextricably bound up with his startling beauty and charm.
But this 40th anniversary edition of In Patagonia confirms him as a writer whose works have earned a place among the classics for their luminous observation and captivating storytelling. THE INVENTION OF ANGELA CARTER by Edmund Gordon (Vintage €13.99) ‘WHEN Angela Carter died — aged just 51, on February 16, 1992 — her reputation changed from cultish to canonical,’ writes her biographer, Edmund Gordon.
Three days after she died, her publisher, Virago, sold out of her books.
Angela’s glittering fiction, with its fierce take on the human condition, was much admired in her lifetime, but it never brought her the financial rewards enjoyed by such male contemporaries as Ian McEwan and Martin Amis, and she would probably have greeted her posthumous acclaim with amusement.
A decade-and-a-half after her death, Gordon’s elegant, intimate and diligently researched biography will ensure that a new generation of readers discovers the intriguing works of Angela Carter, the most daring and flamboyant of literary high-wire artistes. ARTHUR & SHERLOCK by Michael Sims (Bloomsbury €18.20) IN EARLY 1886, Arthur Conan Doyle was a young doctor with a modest practice in Portsmouth when he decided to write a novel — and so his great detective, Sherlock Holmes, sprang into being.
But where did Doyle find the inspiration for Holmes’s remarkable character — the brilliant mind, the icy deductive skill and the troubled relationship with cocaine and morphine?
In his study of the models for Holmes, Michael Sims explores the influences on which Doyle drew when he invented the world’s first ‘consulting detective’.
Doyle himself identified Holmes’s powers of observation with those of Dr Joseph Bell, his tutor as a young medical student, but he also acknowledged a debt to Edgar Allan Poe and Robert Louis Stevenson.
This ingenious work of literary detection is essential for all Holmes devotees.