A Stranger on Earth cover

  • ISBN 978 0 7206 1273 8
  • Non-fiction
  • Paperback
  • Illustrated in color
  • £13.99
  • Available

A Stranger on Earth:

The Life and Work of Anna Kavan

Jeremy Reed

Jeremy Reed’s biography of the novelist Anna Kavan draws on newly discovered original material to map out the enigmatic life, times and visionary work of a writer who renamed herself after a character in one of her own novels and did everything she could to resist biography.

A Stranger on Earth documents Kavan's lifelong addiction to heroin, the circumstances of her two failed marriages, the inseparable bond she formed with her psychiatrist, her suicide attempts, her strange and unforgettable paintings, her devoted attraction to gay men, her obsessions, phobias, reclusiveness and indomitable artistic courage. Reed celebrates the extraordinary imagination at work in her highly acclaimed novels, such as Asylum Piece, Sleep Has His House, Ice and Mercury. Her admirers include J.G. Ballard, Doris Lessing, Brian Aldiss, Anaïs Nin, and her work has influenced a generation of younger writers, from Elizabeth Wurtzel to Will Self.

'Anna Kavan, with her frightening glimpses of the dark sides of life, is one of the world’s best kept secrets. Her extraordinary life deserves this fascinating biography.’ - Virginia Ironside

'Kavan's is a dangerous, frightening world - you don't go there for laughs - but it is also tender and intellectual an but it is also tender and intellectual and immersed in a shimmering hush. She is one of England's few modern masters.' - Duncan Fallowell in Daily Telegraph

'A good, reliable introduction to Anna Kavan' - Doris Lessing, Independent

‘This superb biography peels back the mysteries that surround one of the strangest writers of the twentieth century. The brilliance of Anna Kavan lay somewhere between poerty and madness, and Jeremy Reed takes us deep into the heart of this extraordinary woman. A gripping intellectual thriller.’ - J.G. Ballard

JEREMY REED is a prolific writer of poetry and prose, both fiction and non-fiction, with seven of his novels and five works of non-fiction published by Peter Owen. He has won the National Poetry Competition, the Eric Gregory Award and the Somerset Maugham Award. He is also the author of well-received biographies of Lou Reed, Marc Almond and Scott Walker.