The Twelve Days of Christmas: Stanley Middleton

We’re nearing the end of our Twelve Days of Christmas Giveaway and today Norah Perkins has chosen her perfect Christmas book(s!) to give away.  Just visit our @CBBookGroup Twitter page for your chance to win.

Assorted titles by Stanley Middleton, chosen by Norah Perkins from Curtis Brown.

norah“I always want two sorts of books for Christmas – the first something ultra fun and very funny (watch this space…) and the second something that reflects the better part of me, the serious reader, who over a rare few quiet days in front of a fire can discover a writer I’ve long been meaning to read.

Stanley Middleton, aptly described as ‘the Chekhov of suburbia’, is just such a writer, and Windmill has recently republished a selection of his backlist in a very pretty set of paperbacks. You’ve probably heard of his Booker Prize winning novel HOLIDAY (or not; I hadn’t until very recently – it was back in 1974, and he shared the prize with Nadine Gordimer that year). But Middleton is a writer’s writer, not a national literary hero, though he ought to be, for in his fiction he documents with exacting clarity the moment to momentness that make up our lives. He is an observer of the everyday; like Chekhov, attuned to the small tragedies.

A.S. Byatt wrote that ‘the excellence of art, for Middleton, is an exact vision of real things as they are. And because he is himself so exact an observer, his world at third glance can seem strange and disturbing or newly and brilliantly lit with colour.’ And so in his novels we are allowed to see ourselves as Middleton sees us, and his vision is sharp, unnerving, humane.

Stanley Middleton wrote over forty novels in his lifetime – in this collection are five of his best. ‘He wrote a calm, whispering prose, full of unspoken suggestion between ordinary acts of daily living,’ wrote Jenni Diski. This is fiction that carries us closer to our selves. Nothing could be better for firelit reflection upon our own lives, at the close of the old year, before we step into the new.”

For your chance to win a selection of Middleton novels – for yourself or to giveaway – just vist our @CBBookGroup Twitter page on Friday 12th December and retweet or favourite one of our tweets about the book.  We will be announcing one lucky winner on our Twitter page on Monday 15th December, so stay tuned.

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