Most purchases made on a trip down to Truro last week. We did a road inspection too for the benefit of those of you who head this way on holiday and live in dread of the Bodmin to Indian Queens stretch.The new bit of the A30 is all but ready.
Truro is definitely up with the best for Cornish shopping and we timed our visit for Flea Market day which is always worth doing because the book stalls are unusual.
I hadn't really explored Nonsuch Publishing , probably down to a mental block because I went to a school of the same name (Nonsuch, not Publishing), and nor have I quite been able to figure out the pedigree or who this publisher belongs to.The books seem to be in a similar design league to Pushkin Press; compact and unusual classics and one stall had a huge selection of them which suggests bankrupt stock from somewhere.
I opted for The Slave Son by Mrs William Noy Wilkins. Written on the back of the commercial success of Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin, this book is set on the island of Trinidad in 1832.The book is worth it for Mrs Wilkins introduction alone which is a perceptive treatise on the injustices of racial inequality.
The next stall along had the most unusual selection of war books and I spotted The Patriot's Progress by Henry Williamson.He's been on my list to look out for.Local to Devon and so his books are plentiful down here. I read Tarka the Otter eons ago but I had no idea until recently (an Endsleigh Salon recommend) that he had written so much about The Great War having fought at the Battle of the Somme.This book arrived quite some time after the first flush of post-Great war fiction and was hailed as an unsurpassed masterpiece for its honesty "an overwhelming, unanswerable indictment of the institution of war". It also has the most striking set of lino cuts by Tasmanian artist, William Kermode.
As you jump out of the flea market you can hop into Waterstone's and there is something very odd going on in there.
The selection of 3 for 2's was unbelievable, I could have easily chosen 12 for 8 and that is a real first.
Spoilt for choice I plumped for Ice Trap by Kitty Sewell which Scott Pack recommended ages ago and then Dark Fire by C.J.Sansom because I have been keen to start his Shardlake trilogy.This series comes highly recommended (again at the Endsleigh Salon) and so to this end it would have been good if I had been paying attention and actually bought the first in the trilogy Dissolution and not the second one. I finally added in Disobedience by Naomi Alderman which I recommended to myself because I love these insightful funny Jewish family sagas.
In the post a lovely lovely copy of Adele Geras' latest book Made in Heaven which I am really looking forward to, it's all pink and flowery and you just know the coming together of these two families is not going to be in the least bit straight forward or smooth.
Finally my copy of Summer in Baden-Baden by Leonard Tsypkin which Susan Sontag posthumously tipped me the wink about in her book of essays At the Same Time and I'm delighted that the hardback edition that I tracked down contains her introduction.