Beautiful Barbara Comyns

I can’t remember if I’ve already blogged about the beautiful new editions of some Barbara Comyns novels that Virago have brought out, but it bears repeating.  They tend not to send me review copies, and I can’t justify buying myself duplicate Comyns books when I have zero income – and I’m not getting rid of my Stanley Spencer covers – so it’s pictures off the internet for now… but I’m going to have to find someone to give one of these two, as I hanker to see one in the flesh.  (Hmm… do you think Waterstones would stock them?)

They’ve reprinted Sisters By A River, The Vet’s Daughter, and the inevitable Our Spoons Came From Woolworths.  I don’t know why that one clings onto print when it is far from her best, and they neglect gems like The Skin Chairs and Who Was Changed and Who Was Dead, but I’m delighted to see the first two of those reprinted titles.  If you’ve never tried Comyns, now’s your chance – if you like your fiction a little edgy and unsettling, go for The Vet’s Daughter; if you’re  more a fan of surreal memoir, plump for Sisters By A River.  Here are the new covers – I do hope that ‘W Book Club’ isn’t printed on the book… but I fear it probably is…

9 thoughts on “Beautiful Barbara Comyns

  • August 2, 2013 at 8:41 am
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    Just reading Sisters by a River with Our Spoons lined up next – bought in Oxford Waterstones. The 'W Book Club' is a sticker & I've just peeled mine off. The covers are indeed things of beauty.

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  • August 2, 2013 at 3:02 pm
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    I love these covers and, as Katherine notes, they are definitely being carried at some Waterstones. I saw them there in both Windsor and London.

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  • August 2, 2013 at 5:04 pm
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    Like you, I love the Stanley Spencer covers, and have managed to collect 'The Vet's Daughter' and 'Who was changed and who was dead' in those editions. I was very disappointed when I bought 'Sisters by a River' on line, thinking I'd get the Spencer cover, but receiving one with the later (inappropriate) photo, so the art-work for these new editions is very welcome.

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  • August 2, 2013 at 5:47 pm
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    I have seen these new editions and thought them very lovely. You are speaking directly to me – I've somehow lacked the nerve for Barbara Comyns. Don't suppose she's written a book for someone who likes edgy memoir…? I'm not the biggest fan of the surreal, though of course anything well done is worth reading.

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  • August 2, 2013 at 5:53 pm
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    Those *are* lovely covers, though like you I suspect I will stay with my original greens – love the Stanley Spencers!

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  • August 2, 2013 at 7:49 pm
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    Those covers are very pretty and striking, they say "Buy Me!" I haven't read any Barbara Comyns books yet, but I recently got a copy of The Juniper Tree from a local secondhand bookshop that just closed.

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  • August 7, 2013 at 4:14 pm
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    I was just looking at these in Heffers in Cambridge today, they are gorgeous and I was very tempted!

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  • August 13, 2013 at 11:10 am
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    You have turned me into a Comyns fan after sending me Who Has Changed and Who Was Dead which totally bowled me over. Although I haven't managed to read anything else by her recently, I plan to!

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