Friday, 23 December 2011

The reissues - the job is done .....

Arnold Schwartzman, Len Deighton's friend and collaborator on a number of books, emailed me recently to say he's now completed the full set of covers for the Harper Collins reissues of all of Len Deighton's fiction works.

Having seen them all, I can say they're on a par with the original set of Ray Hawkey covers, in the sense in which they innovate and provide a consistency of design across all the books, and give the book buyer a clear sense of what themes the book is exploring.

Reproduced below are the covers for the final four books in the reissue series, coming out in 2012. Noticeably, Arnold's chosen to adopt a common theme running across the books, of a pair of spectacles, worn by the hero. The 'spy with no name', a certain Harry Palmer? Given that Palmer (unnamed spy) isn't in Spy Story, for example - based on my understanding of the story and a reference by Len in a previous edition - might this cause confusion? To the book-buying public, probably not. The covers are on a par with all the others produced so far, and Arnold's to be congratulated on revitalising Len's existing collection of stories.

Friday, 16 December 2011

Bored already? ....

Nick Jones, chronicler of all things books in Lewes and writer of the Existential Ennui blog, has put up an interesting post about The Ipcress File, in which he references well known comments by author Kinglsey Amis in an article called 'A New James Bond', in a published collection of essays, Kingsley expresses frustration with the complex plot:
"tough sledding with The Ipcress File... The endless twists and turns of the plot, the systematic withholding of clues and even of settings in time and place..."
Great article that's worth checking out.

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Shelf Life redux...

Blog reader Richard Corles has shared a picture of his bookshelf, showing his collection of Len Deighton first editions, including it looks like a mix of US and UK first editions:

So I thought, what about asking other blog readers to send in photos of their own bookshelves and collection of Len Deighton books (or, indeed, any other relevant author). To kick things off, here's part of my collection of Deighton's books, including the reissued Game Set and Match series with the spine design spelling out 'Bernard Samson':

If you want to post up a picture of your bookshelf, send me a photo (max 2MB).

Dutch blog follower Arthur Nutbey has sent in a photo of his shelf; he tells me he takes off all the dust covers to make it more 'library-like':

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Sci-Fi? Ah, no, San Francisco

A number of readers - including author Jeremy Duns, who dragged himself away from his plagiarism research to Tweet me - have alerted me to an excellent overview of Len Deighton's work in the SF Daily. That's SF for San Francisco, not Science Fiction as I first thought, confused.

The article - here - by Casey Burchby, makes the case that Deighton's works have stood the test of time, as we near the fiftieth anniversary of The Ipcress File next year in 2002. I think Casey's opening analysis of Len's position in the literary world is pretty accurate:
"For many of us, Len Deighton may be a shadowy name at best. His best-sellerdom, though it lasted decades, is now a memory. (His most recent novel was published in 1996.) Yet Deighton is one of the best writers of the second half of the 20th century, being a master of spy fiction as well as a major contributor to the literature of World War II in fictional and nonfictional forms."
Well worth a read.