In the words of his biographer, Alan Bishop, Joyce Cary (1888-1957) was 'a prolific, independent, wide-ranging writer with a place in three literatures (English, Irish, Nigerian) difficult to categorize because his writing integrates the traditional and experimental.' He was difficult to categorize which probably explains why his reputation is not more secure. However he was undoubtedly a major novelist of the twentieth century, and in acknowledgement of that Faber Finds is reissuing twelve of his works - Mister Johnson, Herself Surprised, To Be a Pilgrim, The Horse's Mouth, A Prisoner of Grace, Except the Lord, Not Honour More, Castle Corner, Charley is My Darling, A House of Children, The Moonlight and A Fearful Joy.
The Horse's Mouth remains Joyce Cary's most famous novel but this extensive reissue programme will demonstrate to readers this is only one of many equally successful, challenging but entertaining works in his canon.
Although never fashionable, Joyce Cary has always had his admirers:
'This novelist has exemplified the rule that when a writer dies, he or she may suffer a lapse in attention. You say to someone ''Joyce Cary'' and they say ''Who?''. Amazing! He was a marvellous writer, fresh, funny and popping with life.' Doris Lessing
'A splendid writer' John Updike
'Whenever I am idle I choose a Cary novel in the way that I might seek a friend's company, and it is not long before I am encouraged, inspired to write.' Paul Theroux
'To find a novelist who saw more deeply and conveyed more truly you have to go back to Dostoievsky and Tolstoy, Balzac and Goethe, Mann and Hesse . . . What makes him a life enhancer is the overwhelming sense the reader gets from him that the universe, for all its horrors and inexplicabilities, makes sense - obvious and glorious sense.' Bernard Levin