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Rat Man of Paris
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unBURIED Authors U-Z > Paul West

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message 1: by MJ (new) - rated it 4 stars

MJ Nicholls (mjnicholls) | 209 comments British/American author of over twenty novels with eyecatching titles, many available from Overlook Press, others out of print or out from presses that released two books then folded. His novels:

A Quality of Mercy, 1961
Tenement of Clay, 1965
Alley Jaggers, 1966
I'm Expecting to Live Quite Soon, 1970
Caliban's Filibuster, 1971
Bela Lugosi's White Christmas, 1972
Colonel Mint, 1972
Gala, 1976
The Very Rich Hours of Count von Stauffenberg, 1980
Rat Man of Paris, 1986
The Place in Flowers, Where Pollen Rests, 1988
Lord Byron's Doctor, 1989
The Women of Whitechapel and Jack the Ripper, 1991
Love's Mansion, 1992
The Tent of Orange Mist, 1995
Sporting with Amaryllis, 1996
Life With Swan, 1997
Terrestrials, 1997
OK: The Corral, the Earps and Doc Holliday, 2000
The Dry Danube: A Hitler Forgery, 2000
A Fifth of November, 2001
Cheops: A Cupboard for the Sun, 2002
The Immensity of the Here and Now: A Novel of 9.11, 2003

message 2: by MJ (new) - rated it 4 stars

MJ Nicholls (mjnicholls) | 209 comments Paul West died on Oct 18. Because I care. RIP.

Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (nathannrgaddis) | 985 comments MJ wrote: "Paul West died on Oct 18. Because I care. RIP."


You've got some West reviews you might Link us to for our pleasure of the Like, yes?

message 4: by Geoff (last edited Nov 02, 2015 07:04AM) (new)

Geoff | 25 comments Hey MJ, where's a good place to start with Mr. West?

message 5: by MJ (new) - rated it 4 stars

MJ Nicholls (mjnicholls) | 209 comments Only read one (and abadoned one):

On that basis, start with Very Rich Hours, avoid Alley Jaggers. His Dalkey-pubbed works are probably exceptional (being Dalkeys).

message 6: by Robert (new)

Robert Wechsler | 12 comments Also exceptional are Love's Mansion and The Tent of Orange Mist.

message 7: by George (new)

George (georgesaliswriter) | 25 comments For those who haven't seen, here's my review of Paul West's story collection, The Universe, and Other Fictions:

Kristian (krsvane) | 1 comments Excerpt from Terrestrials (p. 90):

“Clegg smiled a little mouth-pulse, heaving on a globe of air that would not ascend from his chest, most of him given over to an image of autumn that was the swimming pool closed for the season, like an outsize lifeboat beyond the main window, covered with a rectangular blue vinyl sheet held down by vinyl bags filled with water, these like dead porpoises or seals along the sheet’s edge, some frozen in the act of rearing up, others prone as if bleeding quietly away while the middle of the sheet filled with rain and leaves, sipped at by rodents and reconnoitered by hopeful crows and, on one occasion, lain on by Clegg himself, undulating as if on a water bed, a bottle of bourbon in one hand, a shotgun in the other, which he fired at random into the stark black tracery of the trees above him, consoled so long as the rounds hit Earth’s atmosphere, while his wife awaited him in the house, certain one of the rounds would blast through the picture window and spray her with buckshot, but no, all he ever did on that day was to light a big cigar and leave a smoke ring behind him like a retreating octopus, once, twice, three times, all without a word, as if the smoke said something final and thorough, his only conversation with her having been to say how the water-filled floats out on the covered pool resembled scalded and shaven blue pigs, not what he had been thinking at all, one of his habits being never to tell her what was in his mind, but to invent things to tell her misleadingly, so that she should never again know him or come near his conclusion that ignorance was when you got hold of the wrong end of the stick, or did not know which end was which, or did not even know that a stick had two ends[…]”

message 9: by George (new)

George (georgesaliswriter) | 25 comments Kristian wrote: "Excerpt from Terrestrials (p. 90):

“Clegg smiled a little mouth-pulse, heaving on a globe of air that would not ascend from his chest, most of him given over to an image of autumn t..."

An epic sentence indeed. Thanks for sharing!

message 10: by Steve (new)

Steve (shem_the_penman) | 3 comments I read a few of West's novels a few years back. He seemed like a fearless and imaginative stylist, extremely literary but not above occasional scatology. I loved that his subject matter went from Milton to sci-fi to the Wild West to WWII.

Unfortunately, I found his work extremely uneven. I started with The Women of Whitechapel, a truly astounding trip through the sewer of Victorian London with Jack the Ripper's victims. This novel was so vivid and Gothic and assured, a Bosch panorama of the class system in England and the powerlessness of women, that I decided to read everything West had written. I tried Cheops next, a meandering story about the Egyptian pharaoh that even West seemed to tire of eventually (he wanders off into an interminable and irrelevant tangent about the composer Delius). The last straw for me was Lord Byron's Doctor, a charmless and overwrought rant about Byron and Polidori.

No doubt I'll read some of his other books in the future, but I'll need solid recommendations about which are worthwhile.

message 11: by Anthony (last edited Jan 27, 2020 06:18PM) (new)

Anthony Vacca | 4 comments I Loved The Tent of Orange Mist. It is more focused on historical events like The Women of Whitechapel.

message 12: by MJ (new) - rated it 4 stars

MJ Nicholls (mjnicholls) | 209 comments I agree that West is uneven, but when he's afire, he's afire, my favourites are The Place in Flowers Where Pollen Rests, Rat Man of Paris, and more respect for The Tent of Orange Mist. The earlier novels are more extreme stylistic explosions... if you want a riotous example, try Caliban's Filibuster.

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