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Despite its bleak title, Doom is William Gerhardie's most wildly funny novel. It is the story of Frank Dickin, an impoverished young novelist, and his involvement, on the one hand, with an eccentric family of Russian émigrés—in particular, their beautiful daughter Eva—and, on the other, with an all-powerful newspaper magnate, Lord Ottercove, who takes Dickin on as a lost cause. This irrepressible comic potpourri also involves a mad English lord who is bent on destroying the world, and with an outrageous sleight of hand that only Gerhardie could manage, the novel slowly slips from social comedy toward apocalypse.
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William Alexander Gerhardie was born in St Petersburg, Russia, in 1895. As a young man he went to London and, when the First World War broke out, joined the army. He was first sent to Russia and later travelled the world before beginning to write. Futility (1922), his first novel, was sponsored by Katherine Mansfield, and other notable works of his include The Polyglots (1925) and Of Mortal Love (1936). Gerhardie's writing was acclaimed as an influence on many of his peers, including Anthony Powell, H. G. Wells, Evelyn Waugh, Graham Greene and Olivia Manning. He died in London in 1977.Review:
³A master of the ridiculous ... Doom seems like nothing else in the language.² -- Michael Holroyd
³I have talent, but he has genius.² -- Evelyn Waugh
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