First published in 1945, the stories collected in I Am Lazarus are a brilliant summation of the war experiences of Anna Kavan, author of the cult hit Ice, who worked among invalided soldiers at a ‘military neurosis centre’ at the height of the London Blitz.
Kavan’s view of the capital and some of its war victims in this momentous era are typically original and oblique: ‘Lazarus’ is a patient revived from catatonia who somehow remains institutionalized; the Blitz spirit is coolly stripped of cheeriness and never-say-die in ‘Glorious Boys and ‘Our City’; there is a Hithcockian horror story in ‘The Gannets’, while in ‘Who Has Desired The Sea’ and ‘The Blackout’ the ‘shell-shocked’ have ultimately only seen war exacerbate old, long-suppressed psychological wounds. Chilling but compassionate classics, the I Am Lazarus collection is an essential and honest document of the time – and of Anna Kavan.
With an introduction by Victoria Walker, founder of the Anna Kavan Society
‘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.
|Date Published||1st February 2012|