Jake Donaghue, garrulous artist, meets Hugo Belfounder, silent philosopher.
Jake, hack writer and sponger, now penniless flat-hunter, seeks out an old girlfriend, Anna Quentin, and her glamorous actress sister, Sadie. He resumes acquaintance with formidable Hugo, whose ‘philosophy’ he once presumptuously dared to interpret. These meetings involve Jake and his eccentric servant-companion, Finn, in a series of adventures that include the kidnapping of a film-star dog and a political riot in a film-set of ancient Rome. Jake, fascinated, longs to learn Hugo’s secret. Perhaps Hugo’s secret is Hugo himself? Admonished, enlightened, Jake hopes at last to become a real writer.
Charles Arrowby, leading light of England's theatrical set, retires from glittering London to an isolated home by the sea. He plans to write a memoir about his great love affair with Clement Makin, his mentor, both professionally and personally, and amuse himself with Lizzie, an actress he has strung along for many years. None of his plans work out, and his memoir evolves into a riveting chronicle of the strange events and unexpected visitors-some real, some spectral-that disrupt his world and shake his oversized ego to its very core.
"A distinguished novelist of a rare kind." – Kingsley Amis
A lay community of thoroughly mixed-up people is encamped outside Imber Abbey, home of an order of sequestered nuns. A new bell is being installed when suddenly the old bell, a legendary symbol of religion and magic, is rediscovered. And then things begin to change. Meanwhile the wise old Abbess watches and prays and exercises discreet authority. And everyone, or almost everyone, hopes to be saved, whatever that may mean. Originally published in 1958, this funny, sad, and moving novel is about religion, sex, and the fight between good and evil.
Bruno, dying, obsessed with spiders and preoccupied with death and reconciliation, lies at the centre of an intricate spider's web of relationships and passions. Including creepy Nigel the nurse and his besotted twin Will, fighter of duels.
Many years ago Gerard Hernshaw and his friends 'commissioned' one of their number to write a political book. Time passes and opinions change. 'Why should we go on supporting a book which we detest?' Rose Curtland asks. 'The brotherhood of Western intellectuals versus the book of history,' Jenkin Riderhood suggests. The theft of a wife further embroils the situation. Moral indignation must be separated from political disagreement. Tamar Hernshaw has a different trouble and a terrible secret. Can one die of shame? In another quarter a suicide pact seems the solution. Duncan Cambus thinks that, since it is a tragedy, someone must die. Someone dies. Rose, who has gone on loving without hope, at least deserves a reward.