Published Jan 2010
240 pages, Paperback
As the critic Mark Valentine has written: 'Michael Arlen wrote of the fast set of Mayfair and Belgravia, those who were to be termed the Lost Generation. His characters are doomed young war heroes still hungering for excitement; newly
emboldened and abandoned heroines; raffish cads and outcasts from convention. All the tales are laced with fine irony and understatement, and a kind of bantering tone with the reader which was to become Arlen’s hallmark.'
Arlen's characters are disillusioned, cynical, and witty, but in addition
these stories include elements of fantasy and horror – in particular “The Ancient Sin” and “The Loquacious Lady of Lansdowne Passage”. The volume also introduced a gentleman crook reminiscent of Raffles in the story “The Cavalier of the Streets”, and
the title of another story, “When a Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square”, was the inspiration for the popular song of the same name.
- Michael Arlen was born in Bulgaria in 1895 of Armenian parents. He changed his name from Dikran Konyounmdjian in 1922 and became a naturalised British subject. After being educated at Malvern College he wrote two novels which met with little attention. He achieved fame with the publication of The Green Hat in 1924.Driving around London in an enormous yellow Rolls Royce, slim, well-dressed and impeccably mannered, he was very like the characters in his novels. He lived in Cannes until the outbreak of the Second World War, and then moved to New York where he died in 1956.
Michael Arlen on the cover of TIME Magazine from Monday May 02 1927.An article entitled ‘Mayfairian’ focusing on Arlen and taken from the same edition.Emma Tennant
- Emma Tennant is a novelist and editor, perhaps best known for her 'sequel' to Pride and Prejudice, Pemberley.
By the same author or foreword writer:The Green Hat
By Michael Arlen; Kirsty Gunn (Foreword)