THE DIPLOMAT'S DAUGHTER
Paperback 6" x 9" 217 pages ISBN 978-1-291-54889-1 Published
S. Kadison has been a teacher for over twenty years and
draws on this experience in several stories. Born in Germany, Kadison came to
England as an infant and was raised in a small village in Kent. Moving to
Bristol as a science student and then later holding jobs in the north west and
the Midlands, Yorkshire and Manchester, Kadisonís writing is informed by the
cultural uniformity discovered within this variety.
This is the authorís fourth collection of stories
THE DIPLOMATíS DAUGHTER
THE MATHEMATICS OF VIRTUE
THE NORTHERN MISTAKE
ANATOMY AND DESTINY
NOS AMIS FIDELES
RIDING LIKE LANCE ARMSTRONG
Some Critical Comments on Earlier Collections
In its readiness to listen in on the speech of a wide
variety of ordinary, working people, and to give us insights into the texture of
their daily lives, S. Kadison's writing is not merely unfashionable, it is like
very little that is currently being written (or anyway published.) It does
however remind me of that fine, scandalously neglected American writer, Nelson
Algren. Like Algren, Kadison's socialism, while never reductive, is integral to
his vision of what life is and what it could be. And like Algren, he makes
satisfying stories out of what happens to happen to the kind of people whose
existence, when it's noticed at all, is for the most part caricatured or
sentimentalized. In other words, Kadison testifies to the value of Camus's claim
that art is nobody's enemy, because it opens the prisons and gives voice to the
sorrows and joys of all.
You don't need to travel far to find a story. They're all
around you if you keep your eyes and ears open, which is what a good writer
does. A man comes home from the army, meets the miseries of post-war Britain,
gets a job as a salesman, prospers, marries, opens his own shop, and then loses
everything when he takes a fancy to one of his assistants. A teacher with high
ideals has them challenged by disruptive pupils. Someone with early ambitions to
be an artist is pushed into a mundane job and a joyless marriage. And a report
in a local newspaper about the death of a woman causes a man to reflect on their
one meeting when they were teenagers, and the fact that he'd never forgotten
her. Everyday stories in ordinary settings. S.Kadison tells them directly in a
way that shows a real concern for people and their problems.
These stories put me in mind of
Gissing and Richard Yates Ė who in their very different centuries and countries
mercilessly exposed the threadbare materialistic dreams of the middle classes.
Neither of those admirable writers was hugely popular, nor ever, in the glib
sense, populist, but both were true and powerful storytellers. Kadison
too is a disabused social critic, moralist and analyst of human nature, someone
who castigates snobbery and hypocrisy with sardonic often heart-rending honesty.
Kadison shares their bitter sense of humour and keen sympathy for all failures
and misfits - anyone trapped by blighted relationships and thwarted ambitions.
Kadisonís distinctive voice is
overdue for discovery and strikes a highly relevant if unsettling chord in the
genteel jungle of contemporary British literature.