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ISBN 978-1-909585-45-4
 first published February 2022; 94 pp
paperback with endpapers; 198x129 mm

£10
Click here to download a pdf excerpt.
Born in South London in 1937, Paul Bailey won a scholarship to the Central School of Speech and Drama in 1953 and later worked as an actor. His novels include At the Jerusalem (1967; reissued 2019) and, most recently, The Prince’s Boy (2014). Peter Smart’s Confessions (1977) and Gabriel’s Lament (1986) were both shortlisted for the Booker Prize. His other work has included an ‘alternative biography’(Three Queer Lives); books about Quentin Crisp and Cynthia Payne; two volumes of memoirs; and plays for radio and television.
 
Paul Bailey, Joie de vivre
 

          The earth is heaving with laughter
          and spring’s in the air on this winter morning
          and I’m happy to be with the riotous dead.

Inheritance, Paul Bailey’s first book of poems after a lifetime of writing fiction, was acclaimed by Carol Rumens in the Guardian as ‘a collection to engage everyone who appreciates elegant craft, shapely storytelling and delicate love lyrics, with a touch of acerbic mischief to offset melancholy and no “poetic” pretentiousness whatever’.

In Joie de vivre, Bailey continues to celebrate the living and the dead with ‘measured sorrow and delight’. The poems both mourn and laugh, giving age and illness more than a good run for their money.

‘The poems never fail to entertain and then to provoke the reader's admiration for their boldness and authenticity … Graham Greene mentions the cafard that hangs around a writer’s life and especially a novelist’s – the sense of dissatisfaction and failure, however much the world admires the work, of jaundice, boredom and cynicism from ruminating too much about human nature. Bailey’s poems are the perfect chemo to this occupational malignancy. They are never self-pitying, but defiantly affirmative of life even while their author is in the grip of a dread illness. If the novels are pearls, the poems reveal the original speck of grit around which they formed.’
     – Timothy Mo, Spectator World

From reviews of Inheritance:
‘Unsentimental, funny, affectionate, deeply moving, the poems read almost off-the-cuff but work at levels of exactness, kindness and observation that throw open a whole closed century of English class-shift and time-shift, in a loving and piercing evocation of family, childhood, love, loss, sangfroid, survival, and with a celebration of all openness, especially openness to our losses and mortalities. Inheritance is quite an inheritance: a slim, calm volume whose resonance is huge.’
     – Ali Smith, New Statesman ‘Books of the Year’


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