Saturday, July 8, 2023


One of the email newsletters I subscribe to and always read is Micah Mattix's Prufrock. A monthly contributor is John Wilson. Recently he posted "On Rereading Eric Ambler," from which:
.... I often use the word “reread” as a noun, self-defined thus: “reread: a chronological revisiting of a fiction-writer’s work, typically but not always comprehensive.” (I may skip a book or two or three that I simply didn’t like.) .... Quite recently, a bit from Ambler’s novel A Coffin for Dimitrios at the Literature Clock made me realize that more than a decade had passed since I made my way through his novels. I resolved immediately to begin a reread.

Some rereads are leisurely, spread out over many months; this is especially the case when the writer in question has produced an enormous body of work. .... Others are concentrated; the day after I finish one book, I start the next in line (so it has been for Ambler). ....

If you haven’t read Ambler, Passage of Arms wouldn’t be a bad choice to start with, to see if he’s your cup of tea. .... I have no business telling you what to read, but supposing that you do read and enjoy A Passage of Arms, consider going back to Ambler’s second novel, Background to Danger (1937), and reading through the rest of his novels in order of publication (as far as you’re inclined to go—at least through The Levanter, I hope).

Ambler’s view of our common world is in many respects different from mine, but I have learned a lot from his books as well as enjoying them immensely. Maybe you will as well. (more, but you may have to subscribe, which I recommend)
John Wilson, "On Rereading Eric Ambler," Prufrock, July 7, 2023.

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