When one of my favourite authors has been dead and forgotten for almost half a century, it's very comforting to find him coming back to life. In The Times Literary Supplement, Hal Jensen has a multiple review of seven of Stacton's lost novels: David Stacton’s Invincible Questions. Excerpt:
Faber Finds is a print-on-demand series which aims to rediscover forgotten classics and neglected authors. This treasure-seeking imprint has now found David Stacton, who was certainly well hidden. Standard reference works make little – if any – space for him, literary histories ignore him, and there is hardly a single academic essay or critical study.
Apart from an appetizing Wikipedia page, with a good bibliography, barely a word has been written about him. A few years ago, one of Stacton’s novels was republished. And that, until now, was that.
The immediate suspicion is that Faber Finds, currently offering over a thousand titles, has begun to go through the bins. If he was that good, whispers our vanity, we would have heard of him. Stacton’s books, however, are astoundingly good. The silence is both unjustified and inexplicable.
Born in San Francisco, in 1923, Stacton finished his various studies in 1951, when he graduated from the University of California, Berkeley. Then, periodically based in Europe, he pursued a writer’s life, achieving modest recognition – never fame – before his death from a heart attack in 1968.
There were early poems and short stories, but Stacton’s writing career effectively lasted less than fifteen years. In this short span, he produced, at staggering speed, an ambitious and exceptional corpus.
The review deals with some books I remember vividly, like On a Balcony and Segaki, and a couple of his early novels I have yet to read. I don't expect to wait long.