Even the most discerning reader can walk into a bookshop and be confronted by authors he or she has never heard of. I am always surprised when, on closing the pages of a wonderful novel, I check the Goodreads page for that particular tome in order to upload my rating and review, and barely anyone has read it. I thought therefore that I would dedicate this week to discussing five underrated novelists, whose work I very much enjoy, but who do not seem to be that well known in the literary world (at least in the circles that I move in, anyway!). For each novelist, I will offer biographical information, a complete bibliography, and the blurb of my favourite novel by them.
Biographical information: A former arts and features journalist, she also writes novels for adults, children, short stories, radio plays for the BBC. She has spoken at numerous book festivals, taught at Arvon and was a judge and mentor for the Scottish Boom Trust’s New Writers Award.
– Nude Untitled (2001)
– Disappearing Act (2002)
– The Luminous Life of Lilly Aphrodite (2008; also entitled The Glimmer Palace)
– The Songwriter (2010)
– Pyrate’s Boy (children’s; 2013)
– To Capture What We Cannot Keep (2016)
Begin with: The Luminous Life of Lilly Aphrodite
‘The debaucherous celebration of the cabaret-era. The magical ascent of cinema. The deprivation of World War I and the build-up to World War II. Set against the rise and fall of Berlin and the innovations in art that accompanied it all, The Glimmer Palace brilliantly weaves together the story of one orphan girl’s remarkable journey from poverty to film stardom, with an illuminating account of an astonishing history.
As the clock chimed the turn of the twentieth century, Lilly Nelly Aphrodite took her first breath. The illegitimate, soon orphaned daughter of a cabaret performer, she lands at a Catholic orphanage where she finds refuge and the first in a string of friendships that will change the direction of her life. When fellow orphan Hanne takes Lilly beyond their stone confines, introducing her to the seedy glamour of Berlin’s notorious nightlife, it begins for Lillly a trajectory of reinvention. From urchin to maid, teenage war bride, tingle-tangle bargirl, model, and script typist, Lilly is eventually transformed into one of Germany’s leading film stars and a partner in a remarkable love story that will span decades and continents—and be inextricable from the history unfolding around it.
Gripping, seductive, and mastefully written, The Glimmer Palace is a page-turning story of glitter and splendor, drama and love, friendship and identity. The story of an extraordinary heroine living in an extraordinary time, it is vivid and surprising in its telling, intelligent and ambitious in its scope, sad and beautiful and unforgettable.’
Author website: http://www.beatricecolin.co.uk/
Which authors do you very much enjoy, who could be categorised as underrated?