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Devil's Own Work

Alan Judd

169 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0006544940 / ISBN 13: 9780006544944
Published by HarperCollins, 2001
Condition: Good Soft cover
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Bibliographic Details

Title: Devil's Own Work

Publisher: HarperCollins

Publication Date: 2001

Binding: Paperback

Book Condition:Good

Edition: New Ed.

About this title

Synopsis:

"More chills in its little length than in a whole shelf of bestsellers." - Stephen King

"At once moral fable, cautionary ghost story and inspired attack on the whole hellbent drift of modern letters, this is a splendid tale, splendidly told, which Ford or Henry James would have been glad to have written." - Robert Nye, Guardian

"Wry and insightful . . . toys with the notion of demonic possession but becomes a thoroughly realistic and highly original story of revenge; a chilling cautionary tale." - Elaine Kendall, Los Angeles Times

"A brief return to the world of Faust, Mephistopheles and the Devil pact. Mr. Judd . . . achieves a deep polish." - Robert Grudin, The New York Times Book Review

After Edward, a rising young author, pens a savage review of the new novel by the world-famous O.M. Tyrell, he is surprised to receive an invitation to visit the old man at his villa in the south of France. The night of their meeting, Tyrell dies, and soon after, Edward's career mysteriously starts to soar as he earns fame, fortune and critical acclaim. But despite his achievements, Edward seems haunted, even tormented. His friend, the narrator, begins to put together the pieces of the story: an ancient, inscrutable manuscript, a beautiful, ageless woman who attaches herself to any writer who possesses it, and a bargain to achieve success at a terrible price . . .

Winner of Britain's prestigious Guardian Fiction Prize, Alan Judd's modern classic The Devil's Own Work (1991) is, as Owen King writes in the new introduction to this edition, "a perfect novel about the demonic possession that is literary ambition." This edition also features a new afterword by the author, in which he reveals the inspirations for this haunting tale.

Review:

This modern version of the Faust legend has an old man of letters pass down to a young writer an ancient manuscript which bestows the gift of easy literary style and fluency -- and consequently head-turning success -- while blocking entirely any genuine creative power. To underline the devilishness of the bargain, the young author is seen to gradually throw away normal human decency as he gives in to overwhelming self-indulgence, and comes under the sensual sway of the old man's seductive mistress. On one level then, pure Faust. On another, Alan Judd's book, winner of the 1991 Guardian Fiction Prize, is a sophisticated self-referential commentary on the cliquish post-modern literary scene. This stylish and substantial novel is a clever attack on those who elevate insubstantial style.

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