August Books 23) The Brightfount Diaries

23) The Brightfount Diaries, by Brian Aldiss

I knew of this, Brian Aldiss’ first novel, from one of his autobiographies, but thought I would never get a chance to read it. However House of Stratus have reprinted it as part of their series of all Aldiss works – though it can’t be doing awfully well as I picked it up for 99p somewhere (marked down from the original £6.99). It’s a funny little book, stiched together from a series of newspaper columns, purporting to be the diary of an assistant in a second-hand bookshop in an unnamed English cathedral city. He has a raneg of more or less peculiar colleagues, an eccentric uncle and aunt, and very little luck with girls. The eccentric relatives seem awfully familiar from Aldiss’ later work (though his subsequent protagonists had more success with the opposite sex). The most sympathetic of his colleagues is a science fiction fan; our hero is not (this is 1955). Engaging but mainly as a harbinger of things to come.

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1 Response to August Books 23) The Brightfount Diaries

  1. steepholm says:

    Thanks for that review – sounds an interesting book.

    I’m actually quite surprised that C. S. Lewis is blamed for whitewashing Spenser. They’re two of my favourite authors, so you can imagine that the following phrase (from Lewis’s Allegory of Love) is branded on my imagination: “Spenser was the instrument of a detestable policy in Ireland, and in his fifth book the wickedness he shared begins to corrupt his imagination.”

    That’s a pretty unambiguous condemnation, I’d have said – and more striking because it was written in 1936, many decades before condemnations of Spenser’s role in Ireland became de rigeur.

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