Astrid, Clio and Julia

Alan Bell

  • The Wanton Chase by Peter Quennell
    Collins, 192 pp, £8.95, May 1980, ISBN 0 00 216526 0

The Wanton Chase follows on all too directly from The Marble Foot, published four years ago, a volume which took the author through his first 33 years and his first two marriages, covering a worthy parental background and a period of poetical precocity and undergraduate literary acclaim at Balliol, followed by a Japanese literary professorship and a spell at the copywriting desk of an advertising agency. Mr Quennell fitted easily, marital tensions notwithstanding, into the London literary scene which he has long adorned. The second volume of his memoirs opens in 1939, with the author, not uncharacteristically, on a French holiday with a girlfriend and Cyril Connolly, in the course of which Mr Quennell and his nameless companion were stoned in a small provincial town for their immodesty. It was to be the last such excursion for many years, the onset of war soon finding Mr Quennell, confessedly slothful and sedentary by habit, working in the Ministry of Information as a press censor, suppressing facts with the skill that in his advertising days he had devoted to enlarging them.

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