Monday, June 20, 2016

Reviewers wanted

I'm looking for volunteers to review our next novel, which is of a rather more literary strain than most. Think W. Somerset Maugham meets an even more anti-PC Douglas Adams. It is a special novel, for more reasons than one, and that's why I'm being particular about what sort of reviewers we are seeking. We want the book to be judged on its merits by those most competent to do so.

Please only volunteer if you've read at least two Maugham novels or collections of his short stories, you can hop right on it, you have an Amazon account, and you are willing and able to post a review. Please don't volunteer if you primarily read SF/F, if you are one of those readers who has your own personal rating system and only give five stars to Shakespeare or deducts stars because you don't like the cover or whatever. That's fine and all, but it's simply not relevant to Amazon reviews.

Thank you. I'll delete this post when we have enough.


In addition to Maugham, those who have read and appreciate Nabokov and Waugh (or other similar authors) should also feel free to volunteer.



Blogger bob k. mando June 20, 2016 11:06 AM  

i tried to read 'Of Human Bondage'. wound up just wanting to punch all of the major characters in the balls. especially the female leads.

'Razor's Edge' had some decent parts but some very weak ones as well.

Blogger pyrrhus June 20, 2016 11:45 AM  

I would be happy to do it, though I'm not a huge Maugham fan, but I have extensive knowledge of English literature...

Blogger Matthew June 20, 2016 12:08 PM  

pyrrhus, per the update in the OP, you may also be eligible.

Blogger Laguna Beach Fogey June 20, 2016 12:13 PM  

I'm on it, Vox.

Anonymous Jack Amok June 20, 2016 12:23 PM  

If Evelyn and Alec Waugh are acceptable substitutes as bisexual gloomy-bird English literary writers, I'd be game. I always liked them better than Maugham, whom I haven't read for decades.

Blogger maniacprovost June 20, 2016 12:43 PM  

I believe I've never read any English "literary" novels... unless you count Jane Austen and C. Bronte.

If you can guarantee it's closer to Nabokov, Tolstoy, and Balzac than it is to Updike, then I'll buy it when it's released.

Blogger Mike Romkey June 20, 2016 1:04 PM  

Willing to put my English degree to work. Some Maugham, rather a large helping of Waugh, and for extra credit, the first three volumes "A la recherche du temps perdu," in translation, up to the point Proust turns his attention to poofery.

Blogger Jeff Burton June 20, 2016 1:04 PM  

I've read "Of Human Bondage" four times. It's in my top five favorite novels. I'm game.

Blogger Matthew June 20, 2016 2:09 PM  

maniacprovost wrote:If you can guarantee it's closer to Nabokov, Tolstoy, and Balzac than it is to Updike, then I'll buy it when it's released.

Of Nabokov, think Pnin and the non-weird, satirical parts of Pale Fire. Tolstoy... no. Unless you LOLed when the train was fine in Anna Karenina.

Blogger tublecane June 20, 2016 2:31 PM  

Waugh might be my favorite novelist. I've read all his stuff save Black Mischief and Helena. Maugham is also great; I've just been reading Theater. I don't know about the Douglas Adams part. I couldn't get through more than a few pages of him.

Blogger Matthew June 20, 2016 2:34 PM  

Don't worry about the Douglas Adams part. It's not the zaniness that Vox is thinking about, it's his ability to skewer idiocies.

Anonymous Susan June 20, 2016 4:18 PM  

I haven't read a Maugham novel, but I loved the Tyrone Power movie, The Razor's Edge. I am pleased to see the quality of the books that Castalia House is now putting out. I expect within 5 years you will be a force to be reckoned with in the publishing community. They might know you now, but a few more authors like this and you will be producing gulps of terror in the throats of your competition.

Blogger Skylark Thibedeau June 20, 2016 5:53 PM  

I read Maugham back in English Literature class in College but the only short story I remember is 'The Verger'. Even if not selected I think I need to revisit the old texts sitting in a nod in my attic.

Anonymous Steve June 20, 2016 6:36 PM  

I haven't read Waugh or Nabokov but I have read Tolstoy, Dostoevsky and I am big fan of H. Laxness (of whom Waugh is sometimes compared) not sure if it is in that same vein.

Anonymous David Zincavage June 20, 2016 7:21 PM  

I've read damn near everything, and am willing to give it a look.


Blogger Matthew June 20, 2016 7:25 PM  

Susan wrote:I expect within 5 years you will be a force to be reckoned with in the publishing community.

Off by an order of magnitude.

Blogger Matthew June 20, 2016 7:35 PM  

Steve wrote:but I have read Tolstoy, Dostoevsky and

No, we do not yet have a Tolstoy or a Dostoevsky. Thanks for your faith in us, though.

Blogger Kevin Donahoe June 20, 2016 7:39 PM  

Back in college, 40 years ago, when all I read was SFF, I did a paper on Maugh and specifically remember Rain and how much I liked it. I liked that Maugh considered himself a storyteller, he didn't seem as self important as other authors I came across but was able to transport me. No Nabokov or Waugh, I've been trying to catch up on John C. Wright, coming off a CSLewis kick. Big fan of Adams, laughed out loud at Catch-22. Let me know if I can help.

Blogger Matthew June 20, 2016 7:46 PM  

Kevin Donahoe, Catch-22 (though not the rest of Heller) is a good sign. If these also fit:

you can hop right on it, you have an Amazon account, and you are willing and able to post a review

email Vox.

Anonymous Hapax Legomenon June 20, 2016 8:12 PM  

Read "The Magician," Maugham's thinly veiled satire of Crowley; not impressed. Crowley's critique of the book was much more clever.

"The Magician was, in fact, an appreciation of my genius such as I had never dreamed of inspiring. It showed me how sublime were my ambitions and reassured me on a point which sometimes worried me — whether my work was worth while in a worldly sense. I had at times feared lest, superbly as my science had satisfied my own soul, it might yet miss the mark of making mankind master of its destiny.

Well, Maugham had had his fun with me; I would have mine with him. I wrote an article for Vanity Fair (December 30th, 1908) in which I disclosed the method by which the book had been manufactured and gave parallel passages. Frank Harris would not believe that I was serious. He swore I must be making it up. He could not believe that any man would have the impudence to publish such strings of plagiarism. I had to bring a little library round to the office to prove my proposition, and Harris sat and stared, and gasped like a fish at each fresh outrage. He cut down the article to two and a half pages, but even so it was the most damning exposure of a literary crime that had ever been known. No author of even mediocre repute had ever risked his reputation by such flagrant stupra.

Maugham took my riposte in good part. We met by chance a few weeks later, and he merely remarked that there were many thefts besides those which I had pointed out. I told him that Harris had cut down my article by two thirds for lack of space. 'I almost wish,' I said, 'that you were an important writer.'

(from The Confessions of Aleister Crowley. pp 571-572)

Blogger tublecane June 21, 2016 12:18 AM  

Maugham, I think, was a homo. I posted not long ago on this site that they provide alot of the strengths of female writers--they're more sensitive to the subtleties of human interaction, especially psychosexuality, and write women more realistically, though not necessarily better (the tippy-top of female characters were written by men, for instance Tolstoy [Natasha Rostov, Anna Karenina] and Flaubert [Madame Bovary])--without the pitfalls of wom an writers, i.e. their woman brains. Which brings up another point about homos, one we all know but don't care to often admit, and which PC never admits: they don't like women. Or at least they're freer than straight men to misogynists. Maugham writes plenty of hateful women, like the waitress in Of Human Bondage and the fiancee in The Razor's Edge.

Anonymous Jack Amok June 21, 2016 12:26 AM  

Maugham, I think, was a homo.

You may be onto something, considering his wife left him because he spent more time with his gay lover than he did with her. As best I can tell, when it comes to serious literary English writers, the more boxes they can check off among:

[] Gay
[] Catholic
[] Worked as spies

the better they are generally considered to be. Maugham could check all three.

Blogger tublecane June 21, 2016 3:33 AM  

@22-Speaking of which, judging by Brideshead Revisited and the general atmosphere of English public schools and Oxford, Waugh dabbled in homoeroticism. He also converted to Catholicism at some point, so there's two boxesh checked.

I'm hesitant to use such indicators, even if you restrict it to modern authors. Because at least two of them make for outsiders, and how can you restrict normal Englishmen from greatness? If you look at the second half of the 20th century American literature, at least regarding conventional opinion of novelistic greatness, your boxes might end up being: Jew, weirdo, commie. Normal Americans still wrote books, too.

Tolkien would make the cut on one box, at least, so the indicators can't be all bad.

Blogger tublecane June 21, 2016 3:56 AM  

By the way, there are advantages to being an outsider. It allows Waugh to comment, through his character, upon the incident of the Nazi-Soviet Pact: "The enemy was at last in plain view, huge and hateful, all disguise cast off. It was the Modern Age in arms." (From Men At Arms, the first book of the Sword of Honor trilogy.) Not Democracy versus totalitarianism, but Waugh versus modernity!

Blogger Matthew Asnip June 21, 2016 7:59 AM  

I've read some Maugham. Of Human Bondage, of course, Cakes and Ale, The Razor's Edge and one other one whose title is eluding me. I have also read Lolita and darn near everything by Evelyn Waugh I could get my hands on. I've read every book by Douglas Adams and at the risk of utterly disqualifying myself, my favourite Brit author is P G Wodehouse.

Anonymous Jack Amok June 21, 2016 11:42 AM  

Tublecane, don't forget the other Waugh brother, Alec (kicked out of school for some sort of gay incident, but never converted to Catholicism, so only one box checked and consequently considered a lesser author). And then there's Graham Greene (not gay, but still two boxes with being catholic and a spy).

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