Wednesday, 3 August 2011


The Guardian Books section had a good article recently: Westwood by Stella Gibbons (Lynne Truss, Guardian, 29 Jul 2011), an appreciation of Gibbons's 1946 novel, which is being reissued by Vintage in a few days' time.
Westwood has long been overshadowed by Stella Gibbons's much loved bestseller, Cold Comfort Farm, but this rich, mature novel deserves its reissue
Unlike Cold Comfort Farm (see previously Beyond the woodshed and Further beyond the woodshed) Westwood has the more or less realistic setting of wartime North London, and turns Gibbons's satirical spotlight on the awfulness of the Hampstead Heath literary set of the period. It looks good; there's an extended article on it, by Stella Gibbons' nephew and biographer Reggie Oliver, findable in the Internet Archive copy of the now-defunct official Stella Gibbons site: see WESTWOOD, or The Gentle Powers.

Westwood (Vintage, 4 Aug 2011, ISBN: 9780099528722) is available from GuardianBookshop.

It would be excellent if other Stella Gibbons novels were reissued; currently they're findable on the secondhand circuit, but (except for Cold Comfort Farm) scarce and expensive. One I'd especially like to see reprinted is the 1943 Ticky, a satirical fantasy about English military institutions.

Update, 21 March 2015
I just read the Vintage Books 2011 reprint of Ticky, and have moved the commentary on it to a newer post, Ticky: fine satirical fantasy.

- Ray

No comments:

Post a Comment