My reading list:
- Malcolm Lowry's Under the Volcano (1947). I was actually in the middle of his short story collection Hear Us O Lord From Heaven Thy DwellingPlace (he had a way with titles), so I'll post on the ones I haven't read yet. - I read Ultramarine a long time ago, which I remember being only OK.
- Italo Svevo's Confessions of Zeno (1923). I've read As A Man Grows Older and A Life already (in fact, I read A Life this year), so Svevo isn't exactly unknown to me. I recommend A Life, though it may not be easy to come by.
- Djuna Barnes' Nightwood (1936). I've had it on my shelf for a while.
- Anna Kavan's Sleep has his House (1948). I've never read any of her books. People have recommended Ice before.
- Walter Scott's Ivanhoe (1819). I tried reading what I think is his first novel, Old Mortality, once and swore never to read any Scott again; but I'll give him one last chance.
- Dawn Powell's The Golden Spur (1962). I'd never heard of her, but this sounds fascinating. A Virago book with an introduction by that arch-feminist Gore Vidal: "Powell was always just on the verge of ceasing to be a cult and becoming a major religion ... in her lifetime she should have been as widely read as, say, Hemingway or the early Fitzgerald or the mid O'Hara ... that unthinkable monster, a witty woman who felt no obligation to make a single, much less a final, down payment on Love or the Family; she saw life with a bright Petronian neutrality".
- Christina Stead's The Salzburg Tales (1934). I keep buying her books, leaving them on my shelves and then giving them away without reading them. This is her first book, and seems to be a long Decameron-style festival of tales.
- May Sarton's Kinds of Love (1970). This looks like the kind of book I would never buy and never read. A truly awful cover. The blurb: "Now in her seventies - with a disabled husband to care for - Christina has decided to spend her first winter in their summer holiday home". So it should be interesting.
- Violette Leduc's La Batarde (1964). "You will be shocked and thrilled by her candour as she reveals the anguish of her illegitimate, poverty-stricken childhood", says the blurb.
I think I'll start with Dawn Powell.
(p.s. I haven't read The Obscene Bird of Night, but I've been reading other books by Jose Donoso recently and he's quickly become one of my favourite writers).
Addendum: I do have one of the most extraordinary local library services in my borough and, from my investigations on their website, I reckon I should be able to track down Andrew Salkey, C L R James, E R Eddison, Freya Stark and maybe Orlando Patterson. (C L R James' book on Toussaint Louverture sounds really fascinating). So I may replace a few of the above with them. (They had Merce Rodoreda too, but only in Spanish).