|About the Book|
In 1948, Dylan Thomas had plans to write a book, a novel concerning the assassination of a Poet Laureate: Id like to make it the detective story to end detective stories, he wrote to a friend, introducing blatantly every character and situation--MoreIn 1948, Dylan Thomas had plans to write a book, a novel concerning the assassination of a Poet Laureate: Id like to make it the detective story to end detective stories, he wrote to a friend, introducing blatantly every character and situation-- inevitable Chinaman, secret passages--that no respectable writer would dare use now, drag hundreds of red herrings, false clues, withheld evidences, into the story, falsify every issue, make many chapters deliberate parodies, full of cliches, of other detective writers. It could be the best fun, and would make us drinking money for a year.By 1949, his plans were executed. Working with another friend, the noted critic and writer John Davenport, he produced The Death of the Kings Canary. It did not make them drinking money. Its deliberate parodies of the cream of English letters, with brilliant take-offs on poems by T. S. Eliot, W. H. Auden, William Empson, and others, were thought scurrilous indeed, and it is only now that publication is deemed possible. But great fun it must have been to write, and great fun it is to read. The story revolves around an improbable country house party of astounding profligacy, and features a very large cast, including the Prime Minister, a dope-smoking butler, literary figures of indeterminate sex, and sundry dwarfs. Most intriguingly of all, it is an irreverent and (sometimes) affectionate portrait of the literary world of the 1940s. Here, with their features exaggerated by the flimsiest of disguises are Augustus John, Cyril Connolly, and even Aleister Crowley, and of course Thomas and Davenport themselves. Its a wild surrealistic farce, an extraordinary literary event, further testimonial to the remarkable talents of Dylan Thomas and John Davenport.