'Where Forgotton Books are Remembered'
December 5, 2008 10:13 AM   Subscribe

I just discovered Third Policeman this summer, and it's aleady forgotten?
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 10:26 AM on December 5, 2008

Oh right, like I'm supposed to get some work done now.

posted by marxchivist at 10:29 AM on December 5, 2008

Ooh, that looks excellent. Thanks for posting. I nominate Irving Rosenthal's Sheeper for inclusion. A masterpiece and a case of criminal neglect.
posted by otio at 10:42 AM on December 5, 2008

The Third Policeman is neglected? Damn! Everything written by Flann O'Brien should be required reading. Especially At Swim-Two-Birds.
posted by trip and a half at 11:08 AM on December 5, 2008

"Neglected", "forgotten", and "cult" are double-edged adjectives in marketing for small presses, especially given the vagaries in the archaeology of literary tastes. Ecco's "Neglected Books of the Twentieth Century" series, which they've updated, I find thanks to this useful link, to "Neglected Classics", used to be Cormac McCarthy's main paperback publisher and appeared to guarantee that status for his novels Child of God and Blood Meridian. Then came Oprah-approved bestsellerdom, and they're now available at every Barnes & Noble out there in mainstream Modern Library/Vintage editions and of no interest to that peculiar subset of bibliophiles obsessed with finding "lost classics", of which I am evidently one since I can't stop browsing this site.

(Can I get a shout-out for my man Joyce Cary?)
posted by Doktor Zed at 11:19 AM on December 5, 2008

Time Reading Program books! My parents got these, and I rescued a number of them when they were weeding out their bookshelves. Great stuff like Kabloona and In Memento Mori that I never would have picked up on my own. Beautiful covers too (though ridiculously brittle).
posted by queensissy at 12:02 PM on December 5, 2008

(Can I get a shout-out for my man Joyce Cary?)

"Frank was having trouble with his boils. He had a plaster on his neck and was carrying his head all on one side. I like Franklin. He's about nineteen, and is just getting his first real worries. The girls he fancies don't fancy him; the ones he fancied last year and doesn't fancy any more are lying in wait for him with kisses and hatchets. Made a bit in the pools and lost a lot on the dogs. And his best friend did him out of a good job, because he wanted to get married. Three years ago he was a happy corner boy, living like a hog in his dirty little mind. Now he's been stabbed alive. He's seeing things. The old woman of the world has got him. Old mother necessity."

-- The Horse's Mouth.

So, yes.
posted by Superfrankenstein at 12:26 PM on December 5, 2008 [1 favorite]

Bookmarked; thanks!

(Can I get a shout-out for my man Joyce Cary?)

You betcha. I love that guy.
posted by languagehat at 1:09 PM on December 5, 2008

Seeing as how Water for Elephants is one of the most popular books in America according to the NYT Bestseller list, I'll make a plug for Cat-Man (1956), probably the greatest American circus novel ever written. It's been called that by professionals in the business anyway. WfE imitates it to some degree, but it's like comparing chuck roast to prime rib. Cat-Man was written by someone who actually worked on a traveling circus in the last days of the golden age, unlike WfE which is entirely stupid.
posted by stbalbach at 2:40 PM on December 5, 2008

How about the New York Review of Books NYRB Classics series? Nearly every title is totally unknown to me (and I'm sure you), even by hearsay, and every one I've read so far is a total gem.
posted by Faze at 4:54 PM on December 5, 2008

No Richard Yates. No Frederick Exley. They're so neglected they can't even get a mention on websites about neglected books.
posted by inoculatedcities at 5:30 PM on December 5, 2008

Richard Yates ain't so neglected — his Revolutionary Road (1961) has been turned into a Sam Mendes-directed flick with Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet.
posted by jeeves at 7:26 PM on December 5, 2008

True. I guess it was just the interim of forty-seven years that wasn't so kind to him. I doubt the movie will be anything too special but I welcome it if it encourages people to read his novels (especially The Easter Parade).

Exley on the other hand...
posted by inoculatedcities at 7:08 PM on December 16, 2008

« Older Girl with No Arms pilots plane   |   The X most blankiest somethings in the history of... Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments