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Imaginary Toys (1961) marked the literary debut of the then 26-year-old Julian Mitchell, who would eventually set aside his prizewinning career as a novelist and achieve wider renown as a dramatist, most famously with Another Country (1981).
Imaginary Toys is a novel of Oxford after World War Two, where class consciousness has become newly acute, and a quartet of narrators wrestle with their studies and their more personal difficulties – among the four a coalminer’s son and the daughter of a solid bourgeois family, who fall in love to the discomfort of their respective friends.
In the first of a sequence of reflective, autobiographical new introductions composed especially for Faber Finds’ reissues of his early novels, Julian Mitchell recalls the atmosphere of mid-1950s Oxford, and the path he took to a literary vocation.
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