A Cab at the Door & Midnight Oil

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Random House Publishing Group, 1994 - Biography & Autobiography - 432 pages
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Two enchanting memoirs from V. S. Pritchett, available for the first time in a single volume
 
A Cab at the Door, originally published in 1968, recalls his childhood in turn-of-the-century and World War I London with the urbane subtlety and wry humor that have marked his other works. For the wild and eccentric Pritchett family, life is a series of cabs waiting at the door to transport them to a succession of ten-bob-a-week lodgings, in their flight from creditors and the financial disasters of their father. A Cab at the Door also captures the texture and color of the working-class side of Edwardian England.
 
Midnight Oil (which Wilfrid Sheed called a "little Rolls Royce of a book" when it came out in 1972) opens in 1921: Pritchett arrives in Paris to commence with a literary career. Gradually, his creative sensibilities emerge as he travels as a reporter to Ireland, Spain, and America. Midnight Oil provides an intimate and precise record of a writer's discovery of himself and his art. "Pritchett is one of the great pleasure-givers in our language," said Eudora Welty.

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About the author (1994)

Born in Ipswich and educated at Alleyn's School, Dulwich, and Dulwich College, novelist and critic V. S. Pritchett worked in the leather trade and later as a commercial traveler and shop assistant. After World War II, he was literary editor of the New Statesman and Nation and has frequently contributed to American periodicals and the N.Y. Times Book Review. He is a distinguished short story writer who has often appeared in the New Yorker. Pritchett has also collaborated with the photographer Evelyn Hofer on three charming and excellent portraits of London, New York, and Dublin. Pritchett, who has been lauded for his fine literary criticism, has also written about many other writers. He received numerous awards including the 1969 Heinemann Award, the 1974 PEN Award, the 1990 W. H. Smith Literary Award, and the 1993 Golden Pen Award. He died from a stroke on March 20, 1997.

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