Author Kersh's Book
Faces in a Dusty Picture
The year is 1940 or '41, the place is Cairo and the surrounding desert. Rommel is on the march, and the British are trying to decide whether to attack or retreat. This slim "slice o' life," written only a year or two after the scenario it evokes, shows what it was like to be in the British army -- from the general to the privates, from a Lieutenant whose father's passing has just made him a lord to a venal quartermaster -- as panic rises and the battle c...
Night and the City
Kersh's best-known and most-respected novel, published in 1946, is a Dickensian "slice o' life" look at London's underworld. Harry Fabian is a fast-talking con artist and kept man (read: pimp) who claims to have been a successful songwriter in America and tries to put together funding for all-in wrestling matches. We meet his girl, Zoe, and several comely dancer/prostitutes (Vi and Helen) as well as the criminal financiers and tough guys of postwar Engla...
The Angel and the Cuckoo
Ranging from Hungary and Italy to France and England, but placed mostly in London between 1911 and 1934, this novel tells the story of a variety of Dickensian characters, from the idealistic and kind Hungarian Steve Zobrany who owns a cafe (the title refers to its name) in a grimier part of the city, to Tom Henceforth the bright but not entirely honest English youth who's very much on the make, and the shadowy figure known as Perp -- who's somewhere betw...
The Secret Masters
Narrator Albert Kemp, the successful author of thriller novels, and his old friend George Oaks, a war hero (First World War) and journalist, stumble on a drastic plot by wealthy and powerful British lords and scientists to alter the planet. The plotters, who call themselves Sciocrats and propose to rule the world via "unadulterated Reason," have hired an insane but brilliant physicist to design nuclear devices that will enable them to melt the polar icec...
The Thousand Deaths of Mr. Small
Charles Small, the son of Jewish parents in post World War I London, wants to be an actor. He actually has some talent, but his folks will never countenance that. They also won't let him marry the love of his life, Ivy Narwhal. The novel tells the story not only of Charles and his screechingly abusive parents (actually his father is a nice enough sort, but utterly terrorized by his mother), but the parallel fortunes of Solomon "Solly" Schwartz, a clubfoo...
They Die With Their Boots Clean
Set mostly in England in 1940 or 1941, this slim novel is Kersh's tribute to the Coldstream Guards, an elite British military outfit with whom he served during that period. Although war (the First and the impending Second) and the Germans surround the story, there really isn't any battle on stage here: Most of the book describes the transformation of average British guys into fighting trim during their basic training, although we hear the stories of old ...
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