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Paul Ableman

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‘This book seems to be about us. Within a day or two of starting it I devised a title: VAC… The subtle idea was to fuse the suggestion of holiday or vacation with that of vacuum…’

Paul Ableman’s third novel, first published in 1968, is – through the voice of its narrator Billy Soodernim, libidinous and regretful by turns – a meditation on love and carnality, monogamy and promiscuity, childbirth, separation and indeed the whole of the fraught relations between the sexes: ‘male and female, citizens with distinct personalities, flesh inwraught in flesh.’

‘Paul Ableman’s novels were praised for their inventive language, bawdy high spirits, and originality of form by Anthony Burgess, Philip Toynbee, Robert Nye and other friends of the avant-garde. They are witty, original, and full of good humour, and I am delighted Faber Finds are reissuing them.’ Margaret Drabble


Paul Ableman (1927-2006) was a novelist, playwright and screenwriter, born in Leeds and brought up in London and New York. He was the author of five novels, most famous of which was I Hear Voices, in which his writing is inspired not only by the modernist avant garde but by psychoanalytic theory. He also wrote plays and scripts for radio,…

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