A collection of stories from some of our best-loved writers, inspired by ideas found in Henry James’s notebooks.
When Henry James died he left behind a series of notebooks filled with ideas for novels and stories that he never wrote. Now ten of our best contemporary authors and James enthusiasts have written new short stories based on these ‘germs’ of ideas. Differing dramatically in setting and style, these stories are modern interpretations of the richly suggestive and enticing notes that Henry James left behind, offering a fresh and original approach to a canonical literary author.
Professor Philip Horne, a renowned authority on Henry James, has edited and introduced this collection, which also includes transcripts of James’s original jottings allowing readers to trace the raw ideas through to their modern-day interpretations.
Contains stories by Colm Toibin, Rose Tremain, Jonathan Coe, Paul Theroux, Amit Chaudhuri, Giles Foden, Joseph O’Neill, Lynne Truss, Susie Boyt and Tessa Hadley.
WITH A FOREWORD BY MICHAEL WOOD
[An] ingenious and entertaining collection… the stories could not be more varied in tone and approach, from Colm Tóibín’s beautifully measured “Silence”…to Amit Chaudhuri’s bouncily rhythmical “Wensleydale”…the individuality of the entries does not preclude entertainment – there is much playfulness and not a little comedy here ― Times Literary Supplement
Wonderful short stories…It is fascinating to see how familiar writers such as Colm Tóibín, Rose Tremain, Tessa Hadley and Lynn Truss match their own style to quintessentially Jamesian themes: a father who isn’t who he appeared to be; a ghostly reminder of past loss; an affair that never quite caught fire. Each story is different, but the hand of the master is clearly detectable throughout, a gentle guide that shapes the telling. ― Irish Times
In this volume, the appreciation of his unwritten tales by eleven fine contemporary authors pays handsome dividends ― Sydney Review of Books
The short story should be a gem of bright, quick, vivid form ― Notebooks
Henry James is as solitary in the history of the novel as Shakespeare is in the history of poetry — Graham Greene
About the Author
Michael Wood is the author of Stendhal, America in the Movies, Garcia Marquez: One Hundred Years of Solitude and The Magician’s Doubts: Nabokov and the Risks of Fiction (also available in Pimlico). He writes film and literary criticism for the London Review of Books, the New York Times Book Review and other publications. He studied Modern Languages at St John’s College, Cambridge, where he was later a Fellow. He taught for along time at Columbia University in New York and then at the University of Exeter. He is currently Professor of English at Princeton University. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.