‘A man called Berg, who changed his name to Greb, came to a seaside town intending to kill his father . . .’
So begins Ann Quin’s madcap frolic with sinister undertones, a debut ‘so staggeringly superior to most you’ll never forget it’ (The Guardian). Alistair Berg hears where his father, who has been absent from his life since his infancy, is living. Without revealing his identity, Berg takes a room next to the one where his father and father’s mistress are lodging and he starts to plot his father’s elimination. Seduction and violence follow, though not quite as Berg intends, with Quin lending the proceedings a delightful absurdist humour.
Anarchic, heady, dark, Berg is Quin’s masterpiece, a classic of post-war avant-garde British writing, and now finally back in print after much demand.Read an Excerpt
- You can read an excerpt of Berg on Literary Hub, here.
- Keep an eye out for Ann Quin’s, Three, which will is forthcoming from And Other Stories in 2020.
- Read more about Ann Quin and The Unmapped Country.
‘Progressing with the potency of a fever dream, this reissue invites readers to discover Quin’s remarkable voice.’
‘Rare enough is a book that begins by stating its intention—rarer still one that proceeds to do seemingly everything it can to avoid following the path its intention has laid.’
'The prose that makes Quin’s novel so dazzling 55 years later. The language of her book lurches in unexpected directions, fishtailing wildly from the dark to the erotic to the violent to the insanely funny.’
‘Quin’s prose is as sharp as a deadly blade, flashing between light and dark with arresting effect.’
‘Read the book. There’s nothing I can do in this review that approaches the feeling of reading Ann Quin’s Berg. I can make lame comparisons, saying that it reminds me of James Joyce’s Ulysses (in its evocations of loose consciousness), or David Lynch’s Blue Velvet (in its oedipal voyeuristic griminess), or Luis Buñuel’s The Exterminating Angel (for its surreal humor and dense claustrophobia). Or I can repeat: Read the book. [...] Quin wrote three other novels before walking into the sea in 1973 and never coming back. Those novels are Three (1966), Passages (1969), and Tripticks (1972). I really hope that And Other Stories will reissue these in the near future. Until then: Read the book.’
Dublin Review of Books
‘What makes Berg one of the best British novels published since the war, is [the] repetitive, unyielding territory of failed transformation ... not merely a mystical plane opened up by the work of literature: paradoxically (and with a heavy dose of sadness and black humour) it is the place where literature comes closest to life.'
‘A triumph of post-war literature. A classic of social surrealism.’
‘Berg reminds a little of Veronique Olmi’s tragic Beside the Sea, or Ferrante’s lost dolls in the sand, but with a runaway, off-kilter style all of its own that reminds the reader how celebrated Quin ought to be.’
‘A gritty yet deliciously strange masterpiece of British fiction.’
‘Ann Quin is a master painter of interiors, of voices that mosaic as they catch the light at strange, stirring angles.’
‘After her death in 1973 at only 37, Ann Quin’s star first dipped beneath the horizon, disappearing from view entirely, before rising slowly but persistently, to the point that it’s now attaining the septentrional heights it always merited. I suspect that she’ll eventually be viewed, alongside BS Johnson and Alexander Trocchi, as one of the few mid-century British novelists who actually, in the long term, matter.’
‘She is one of our greatest ever novelists. Ann Quin’s was a new British working-class voice that had not been heard before.’
New York Times
‘A marvelously warped book.’
London Review of Books
‘Funny and profound.’
‘One of Britain’s most adventurous post-war writers. Psychologically dark and sexually daring, Quin’s relentlessly experimental prose reads like nobody else.’