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The Unstable Realities of Christopher Priest

Paul Kincaid

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17 Nov 2020

ISBN 9781780240886 (Paperback)
252 pp., Free UK Shipping


Paul Kincaid's book divides itself into a series of chronological and thematic readings of Christopher Priest's life and work. Historical context proves itself to be key in the chronologically ordered chapters, while the thematically arranged ones provide a place to discuss islands, reality, doubles, and the arts. This duality provides an excellent space for Kincaid to use his incisive powers of critical thinking to capture the evanescence and ambivalence of Priest's writing.


Christopher Priest is one of Britain's best writers: Paul Kincaid brings his considerable critical skills to this broad yet carefully focussed view of Priest's intense and determined oeuvre. --M. John Harrison

An absolutely invaluable book: not just the first critical account to cover Priest's whole career, but the first critical engagement with Priest of any kind to provide a persuasive overall critical approach to this major but hard-to-categorise writer. Kincaid alternates a broadly chronological account of Priest's writing life with analysis of Priest's recurring themes and symbols, balancing these two approach such that each illuminates each, and without ever losing sight of the distinctiveness that makes Priest so important—even if part of that distinctiveness is, precisely, his resistance to conventional critical approaches. Kincaid's critical engagement is always judicious, eloquent, often brilliant and it remains throughout sensitive to the studied ambiguities and shifting complexities of its subject. Critical writing is rarely this good. –-Adam Roberts


Author’s Note
A Complete List of Short Fiction
Chapter One: Ambivalence
Chapter Two: Accounting
Chapter Three: Insularity
Chapter Four: Inversions
Chapter Five: Instability
Chapter Six: Dreaming
Chapter Seven: Doubling
Chapter Eight: Authorities
Chapter Nine: Authorship
Chapter Ten: Revisiting
Chapter Eleven: Stories
Works Cited

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