Perrin, Alice. East of Suez.
London: Anthony Treherne and Co. Limited, 1901.
8vo. 311pp. + 12pp. ads. Publisher's brown cloth over printed in green and white to spine and front board, minor edgewear and scuffing, light bumping to spine ends, a small chip to head of spine. A very good copy indeed. Internally clean, minor spotting to prelims. Tis copy, hailing from the collection of noted bibliographer and bibliophile Richard Dalby has a two page letter from Perrin laid in, dated 1924, along with a very typically Dalby-esque envelope of correspondence and provenance regarding the purchase of the book:
“In case I am not able to arrange our meeting as soon as I should like to do I am returning the books with my impressions...First of all I...your right to go in hot and strong for writing, as you certainly possess the power and the talent...and the Art. But art is no good without Craft, just as craft is no use without art.”
A beautifully written and nigh on forgotten collection of stories, several decidedly weird and ghostly, written by a redoubtable Anglo-Indian novelist whose gentle and insightful observations of the often wobbly state of the British Raj can only be viewed with admiration. Another one of the League of Lost Writers, Alice Perrin published 17 novels between 1900 and 1932 with subjects ranging from the mysterious, through the supernatural through to the deftly observed intricacies of every day Anglo Indian life. One particular habit, echoing the social necessity of eighteenth century women writers, was the narrative use of supernatural incursions into the real world as a means of commenting upon things that would not normally be acceptable to speak of; shades of Altamira's Ghost, never a bad thing. A splendid collection of stories well deserving of being pulled back from the brink of obscurity (not by me, I hasten to add, but through the work of people like Melissa Edmundson, who probably knows more about Alice Perrin and her significance than anyone else out there). Scarce.