The Guardian ran a fine and distinctive ‘Summer Reading’ feature on the weekend, for which authors were asked to cite a book that was especially dear to them and which they first encountered in a particular summer at a particular location. The whole piece is obviously worth a thorough read; I will only draw your attention to this nomination by Margaret Drabble, the title being Late Call by Angus Wilson, of which Finds has been the proud publisher since 2009:
My most memorable holiday book is Angus Wilson’s LATE CALL, which I read on holiday in Morocco, or rather on my way to Morocco, for I think I read it on the boat from Marseille to Tangier. I had discovered Wilson’s work while still at university and eagerly read each book as it was published; this novel, which came out in 1964, was as gripping as all the others had been, and very unexpected. It’s the story of a newly retired hotel manageress trying to adapt to life with her widowed headmaster son in a new town. It’s full of social comedy and human tragedy, and I remember being utterly gripped by the wholly real world Wilson created. It was a perfect companion on a trip that was at times rather unsettling. I don’t know how a sophisticated and highly educated man such as Wilson can have entered so fully into this woman’s hopes and fears, but he did. It’s also more experimental than it looks in terms of narrative technique. It was made into a TV series in which Dandy Nichols played the main role brilliantly. Many of Wilson’s books are now available through Faber Finds, including this one. I continue to associate it, quite inappropriately, with memories of Marseille, the Mediterranean and Casablanca.