As I am feeling very spring-like this on this lovely sunny morn, I will embark upon a fresh assault on the remaining titles on my Landing Eight challenge list. Put it down to the sense of anticipation from knowing that the month of May is only hours away around the corner.
Just to recap for those of you not paying attention at the back, here is the original list:
The Daughter of Time Josephine Tey (Orange Penguin)
The Frontenac Mystery François Mauriac (20th Century Classics Penguin)
The Go-Between L P Hartley (Penguin Classics)
In a Free State V S Naipaul (Orange Penguin)
The Periodic Table Primo Levi (Everyman)
The Diary of a Nobody George & Weedon Grossmith (Guild Publishing)
Murderers and Other Friends John Mortimer (Orange Penguin)
The Thirty-Nine Steps John Buchan (Orange Penguin)
I have now reached the exciting final stages of this challenge which dates back to last summer (was it really that long ago?), with only two more books to read. What happens after completion of my task is anyone’s guess at this stage. I will have to come up with a fresh mechanism for tackling the unread books on The Landing I suppose. Though as I have mentioned in a previous post, I do have a plan to defect to The Bedroom Bookshelves during the summer to finish reading Dorothy Dunnett’s Niccolo series.
In the meantime I will be settling down to read V.S. Naipaul’s In a Free State which we have in an Orange Penguin edition from 1983 (reprint of the 1973 edition). It was originally published in 1971 by Andre Deutsch and won the Booker Prize of that year. In this volume the novella ‘In a Free State’ is preceded by two shorter pieces ‘One out of Many’ and ‘Tell Me Who to Kill’ and all of these pieces are bracketed by a prologue and an epilogue. In a more recent Pan Macmillan edition from 2011, the title piece is published on its own, a decision endorsed by the author as his preface makes clear.
This is not only a so far unread book, but also an as yet unread author for me so will be a first on two counts. It may well be that I should have begun with one of Naipaul’s earlier books such as A House for Mr Biswas (1961) but I have to abide by the terms of my challenge. As you probably know, Naipaul has generated as much sharply critical comment as plaudits for his work but I will talk more about that next time I post.
For now, I will just get on with the book! If anyone out there has read it, you’re welcome to drop a line in the comment box with your thoughts.
And a ‘Happy May Day’ for tomorrow – dancing around Maypoles is optional!