Be on the lookout during tonight's season finale of Lost for a very special guest. If our information is correct, another NYRB Classic will be on view—if only for a brief moment.
If this book strikes you as an impossibly genteel choice, then you probably aren't acquainted with the work of Dame Ivy. Her novels, told almost entirely in clipped, unnatural dialogue, are among the most bitter, violent, and seething books we publish—they more than give Georges Simenon a run for his money. Since Lost seems to be more and more about families, it makes sense to look to a writer whose focused on the entanglements, rivalries, and jealousies that arise in these primal groups. And what's more, the books are great fun.
Stuart Jeffries at the Guardian Books blog sums up the Compton-Burnett paradox:
The books open, figuratively speaking, to the sound of knives being sharpened; they close to the sound of those knives being resheathed; in between there is certainly a bloodbath, but mostly the wounds are mental rather than physical. They are exquisitely painful, if hilarious, to read about.
For a little dose, look here.