• ISBN 978 0 7206 1327 8
  • Fiction
  • Paperback
  • £9.99
  • April 2009

A Scarcity of Love

Anna Kavan

Rejection, betrayal and a girl’s discovery of evil are the themes of this strange, haunting novel by the author of Ice. As in Ice, Kavan discards such aids to realism as geography and mundane physical facts – even time seems to have halted in a menacing country of the emotions where the very ground is uneasy with seismic-like threats.

A Scarcity of Love tells the story of a young girl, rejected by her narcissistic and vengeful mother, whose life thereafter is a continuing series of betrayals that can lead only to the dead end of madness and death. Like Sylvia Plath, Anna Kavan was capable of nearly perfect control over language as she strove to describe, in the simplest and most ordinary of terms, the bizarre and hallucinatory landscape of derangement.

Issued for the first time as a Peter Owen Modern Classic.

'Anna Kavan’s talent for extracting an austere beauty from intimations of doom is as compelling here as in so much of her greatly admired work.’ – Rhys Davies

‘An artist of great distinction.’ – L.P. Hartley, Sunday Times

‘Belonging to the great subjective-feminine tradition (Woolf, Barnes, Nin) which has tried to give us a poetic notation of the female artist’s world.’ – Lawrence Durrell

ANNA KAVAN (1901–1968) is one of the greatest unsung enigmas in twentieth-century British literature. Born Helen Ferguson, a fraught childhood and two failed marriages led her to change her name to that of one of her characters. Despite struggling with mental illness and heroin addiction for most of her life she was still able to write fiction that was as powerful and memorable as any English female writer of the last 150 years.