23 February 2007

Holiday. Stanley Middleton. 1974.

Stanley Middleton. HOLIDAY. Hutchinson, London, 1974.

Current Selling Prices
$3000-$4000 /£1500-£2000 Want level 50 - 75 High

Much desired and elusive novel with many collectors after it, some having to put up with second editions. It was the joint winner of the prestigious Booker Prize and will always be a 'stopper' in any collection of them. It shared the prize money (£5000) with 'The Conservationist' by Nadine Gordimer. It is the rarest and most valuable of Booker books, although 'Midnight's Children' runs very close. I am not a big fan of Booker as I find it has a rather dull Waterstone's view of the world, middlebrow, middle class and Middle England. I once bought all the entries for one year off one of the judges, Joanna Lumley, who having not voted for that year's winner was slightly reluctant to autograph it for me to push up its value. It was the dire Keri Hulme book 'The Bone People.' Even with the lovely JL's ownership signature it was hard to shift.

In Middleton's novel a married man returns alone to the seaside town where he used to holiday as a child. Described in a review as '...a multi-layered story of marriage, death, seduction and separation... Holiday is a novel about lives in crisis.' Apparently he is known as 'God's Spy' for his stunning observational powers, also 'the forgotten man of post-war British literary culture.' Book was rejected by 20 publishers.

VALUE? There are currently 2 copies on ABE at circa £1250, both second impressions described as 'First edition, second impression' which you have to do to sell it. I think they have been there a while. A BIN copy sits on ebay at £1050 which the small print reveals as a second impression, another 2nd impression is Buy it Now (BIN) at $2350-- in fact the second impression is not scarce and probably not worth even a grand.A signed decentish 2nd imp was seen at ILAN at $1300 and a true first, signed but in not very nice, ex library condition sits on UK Amazon at a gouging and unrealistic £1500. Best not to buy ex library books unless you need them for study. The real first in very good nick is bloody hard and you could take a holiday with the money. Say £1600 - £2000, but one can easily imagine somebody trying for twice that. Confused by dollars and pounds? Think 2 dollars to one pound.

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