WHAT WE ARE THINKING: Pushkin Press Prescience???

Article published on June 22, 2015.

Trade magazine, The Bookseller, has this morning (June 22, 2015) announced the Waterstones Summer Book Club collection (very low key on the Waterstones site!). In a clutch of good reading, they focussed on the appearance therein of  ‘two novels from Pushkin Press – One Night Markovitch by Ayelet Gundar-Goshen and The Brethren by Robert Merle.

Attendees at last year’s newbooks Readers Day in Winchester still talk about Pushkin’s Publisher, Adam Freudenheim, who was – apologies to the other guests – the outstanding speaker of the day. Indeed, I have never before seen a publisher (not an author, as far as I know) with a substantial queue patiently waiting to have their Pushkin Press purchases signed. So we are not only delighted for Adam and his team but would claim some insight as your correspondent happens to have reviewed both of these titles – The Brethren appearing as my What I’m Reading in nb83.

First published in 1977, The Brethren by Robert Merle was written in French but Pushkin Press have republished this ‘Dumas of the twentieth century’. Although I am less familiar with Monsieur Dumas’s writing than the film and TV versions this is a thorough-going historical romp, reminiscent of the Angélique books by Serge Golon I raced through in my early teens. My only carp is the amount of French history which I suspect even a French reader would find a little overdone.

However, before hubris swallows me up, my performance on the rest of the list is shameful.

Other titles include Sarah Waters’ The Paying Guest (Little, Brown), The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell (Hodder & Stoughton), Lucky Us by Amy Bloom (Granta), After Me Comes the Flood by Sarah Perry (Serpent’s Tail), Curtain Call by Anthony Quinn (Vintage), Man at the Helm by Nina Stibbe (Penguin) and Hotel Alpha by Mark Watson (Picador).

Guy Pringle, June 2015

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