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Friday, April 9, 2010

Forgotten Book Friday: Who Was Changed and Who Was Dead by Barbara Comyns reviewed at Pattinase

I was thrilled when Patti Abbott asked me to guest blog on her “forgotten book friday” feature at her lovely blog Pattinase. This is a weekly treasure trove for all of those marvellous reads that have unfairly slipped out of the cannon of famous literature. So, let the rediscovery begin!

I have reveiwed one of my favourite books – the splendid “Who was changed and who was dead” by Barbara Comyns - click here to read it.



The illustrations here are the Virago Modern Classic cover and a photograph of the author.

If this has got you interested then you may enjoy reviews of this fascinating little book by Simon at Stuck in a Book, Verity at Verity's Virago Venture and at Leaning Towards the Sun.

What would be your top “forgotten” read?

24 comments:

  1. I love Virago's so will pop over and read your review asap.
    It's tricky but I think my favourite 'forgotten' read is 'Someone at a Distance' by Dorothy Whipple - which, thanks to Persephone, isn't so forgotten anymore!

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  2. What a wonderful idea for a feature! Clicking over immediately. I'm a newcomer to the world of forgotten classics, but I was so impressed with Rachel Ferguson's Alas, Poor Lady. What a stunning book.

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  3. Hope you come back and do another. I need more women. (to do reviews, that is).

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  4. I just read "From a Paris Garret" by Richard Le Gallienne, and although not my favorite, it certainly was enjoyable. His observations of the Parisiens of the 1920's were so vivid, snd applicable to today.

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  5. I loved Family Roundabout and Frost at Morning by Richmal Crompton.
    Completely different, but a good old-fashioned Fleet Street story is The Paper Palace by Robert Harling.

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  6. I knew I'd starting thinking of more as soon as I logged off! I don't know how many times I've read Flowers for Mrs Harris by Paul Gallico, a lovely feel-good story. And I've just glimpsed Sybille Bedford's A Visit to Don Otavio up on my shelf and remembered how much I enjoyed it.

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  7. Last year I have discovered Miss Buncle's Book and I find it very sad that these days, people don't tend to read these books anymore. I love to discover books that nearly no one has heard of and I find it sad that there are so many books out there that are forgotten and out of print!

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  8. Oh, this is an easy one! I have 2:

    1. A Prologue To Love - Taylor Caldwell (1961)

    2. The Prodigal Women - Nancy Hale (1942)

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  9. Another lovely review :) I don't know if I have the heart to read this book. I tend to avoid books of intense suffering as a rule but I want to toughen myself up so I might just give it a shot after all! By the way the author looks classic and for some reason ( I have no idea why) she reminds me of Greta Garbo.

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  10. I read this and loved it, so got sisters by a river without realising what it would be. I wish I'd read them the other way round - but too late now

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  11. I think Forgotten Book Friday is a great concept. Only I wonder if many of the books that might be featured are available.

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  12. Miss Lemon is going to echo Bloomsbury Bell: not only is she a loyal fan of Virago (she always searches for their signature green & white spines at the second-hand shops) she also counts DW's Someone at a Distance as one of Persephone's best resurrections.

    Thanks for all your great recommendations, Hannah.

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  13. Thanks for all of your visits and comments people.

    Bloomsbury Bell - yes that is a wonderful read - hurrah for Persephone!

    Nymeth - forgotten classics is a world of books that is so worth getting into. Persephone have some wonderful titles as do Capuchin Classics. I have not read Rachel Ferguson but have had my eye on "The Brontes Went To Woolworths" for some time.

    Patti - It would be a pleasure

    Daniel-Halifax - thank you so much for visiting and commenting. I have not read that - but the world of the Paris art garrett is one that i am very interested in indeed. thank you for the recommendation.

    Mary - what a list - thank you - and I like the idea of a good old fashioned Fleet Street story - I used to work in Fleet Street and do love it (although of course it has changed very much over the years!)

    Passionate Booklover - quite - there are so many deserving books that have slipped out of the public consciousness for not good reason. Thank goodness for Persephone and Capuchin I guess.

    Bybee - thank you for the recommendations - i have not read either of those but it is always good to add to the list...

    Vaishnavi - thank you:-) The thing with Barbara Comyns is that she believed in happy endings. She deals with suffering but her reader is not overwhelmed by it as is the case with some other authors. Strange things happen - things which are at the boundaries of what is realistically possible - and dark corners of the human heart are explored - but things tend to end cheerfully. I have not thought of the Greta Garbo side of things - thanks for pointing this out - you are quite right!

    Desperate Reader - So glad to read that you have enjoyed discovering Barbara Comyns. If you have now read Sisters by a river - then the most natural title to move on to I would say is "The Skin Chairs".... Wonderful to discover a fellow Barbara Comyns fan.

    Anil P - Isn't it a great idea?! Obviously some books are going to be easier to hold of than others - but this one - Who Was Changed and Who Was Dead is quite easy - there are a lot of seond hand copies available on Amazon.

    Elizabeth - yes - hurrah of Virago (especially the greenspines) and persephone.

    Thank you all for visiting and taking the time to contribute your recommendations.

    Hannah

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  14. I'm coming back when I have more time so I can read your review and find out more about thie forgotten book thing. I love that idea!

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  15. Rose City Reader - thank you very much - forgotten book friday is a great way of hearing about super books that you did not know existed.

    Have a great week

    Hannah

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  16. I'm glad you enjoyed this one too. I liked the bizarre aspects most particularly as devices for other things in our lives, as you point out. I'll echo the others and say Forgotten book friday sounds like an excellent way to bring atttention to great books. I'll surely pop in again!

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  17. At the moment, probably Prisoner of Zenda! Nana was really good, too, I don't know why more people don't read Zola.

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  18. I loved your write-up on this, it would make me very keen to read the book if I didn't already love it!

    My favourite forgotten book is Miss Hargreaves, but it's a bit less forgotten now that Bloomsbury have reprinted it...

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  19. I read and reviewed Daughters in law by Henry Cecil and there's another John Cleland's Fanny Hill. I dont know whether they fall into the forgotton region but they were both very good.

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  20. Leaning Towards the Sun - thanks for your comment. I have read all of Comyns' work - but this is my favourite and was the first that I discovered. I think that is the way to treat her - to embrace the surreality of the narrative - but also look behind it.

    Heidenkind - Great suggestion - thank you!

    Simon - Thanks for your kind words and your suggestions (which I have not read yet although I do like the new reissue cover)

    Mystica - I think that they both fall int othe forgotten region - thanks for your comment and suggestions

    Happy Tuesday all,

    Hannah

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  21. This is a great idea. I can't think of any forgotten reads at the moment, but I will keep trying.

    Happy to have discovered your happy and sunny blog :)

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  22. Jenny Girl - thank you for visiting!

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  23. I read your review over on Pattinase! It was really insightful and engaging! I really got a sense of the surrealism present in the book. Thank you for writing such a terrific review!

    I have an award for you! Check it out: http://thebookishtype.blogspot.com/p/awards.html

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  24. Dear The Bookish Type - thank you so much for your kind words and the award. I am touched and hope that you a chance to read the book and feel the surrealism at first hand...

    Thanks for visiting and commenting

    Hannah

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