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Ann Quin
at the
complete review:

biographical | bibliography | quotes | pros/cons | our opinion | links


Name: Ann QUIN
Nationality: English
Born: 17 March 1936
Died: 1973
Awards: Harkness Commonwealth fellowship, 1965
D.H. Lawrence fellowship

  • An apparent suicide

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Highlighted titles are under review at the complete review

Please note that this bibliography is not necessarily complete.
Dates given are of first publication.

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What others have to
say about
Ann Quin:

  • "Miss Quin gives signs of owning her own voice. Paradoxically, she is at present shackled by speaking in an old-fashioned tongue." - Daniel Stern, The New York Times Book Review (9/10/1966)

  • "Among the writers restored to the limelight in this Guide to Twentieth-Century Women Novelists are mad, inventive Ann Quin, who jumbled pop-art pictures with consciousness levels in her experimental novels of the 1960s, and the austerely bizarre Jane Bowles. Both of them were experimental writers, though it is unlikely Ann Quin was a real original. Nevertheless, Kathleen Wheeler argues forcefully on her behalf. (...) It is Quin's unsung experimentalism (...) which inspires her." - Katy Emck, Times Literary Supplement (27/6/1997) (from a review of Kathleen Wheeler's A Guide to Twentieth-Century Women Novelists)

  • "In a decade of published writing, Quin became more innovative with each novel." - Joan Schuman, Tucson Weekly (21/2/2002)

  • "Despite ongoing rumours of a B.S.Johnson revival, I feel our attention could be more usefully directed towards Ann Quin." - Stewart Home, in 69 Things to do with a Dead Princess (2002)

  • "Ann Quin's was a new British working-class voice that had not been heard before: it was artistic, modern, and -- dare I say it -- ultimately European. It looked beyond the constructs of our society. It was fresh, alarming, and idiosyncratic. It wasn't static; it moved with the times." - Lee Rourke, The Guardian (8/5/2007)

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Pros and Cons
of the author's work:

  • Short, well-written fiction
  • Creative approaches to presenting fiction
  • Complete works once again available in attractive Dalkey Archive Press editions

  • Entire output only four short novels
  • A great deal of introspection
  • Often too little story to her stories

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the complete review's Opinion

     Ann Quin only completed four short novels (all recently re-issued as Dalkey Archive Press paperbacks). She certainly could write: open most any pages and the sentences and passages certainly impress: her words sound right and true and appropriate.
     Her works as wholes aren't always as satisfying: they are complete, and yet much about them (and their characters) remains elusive. That's part of Quin's point -- she doesn't go for absolutes and easy certainties -- but isn't always what we want from our fiction.
     Quin's novels still look very much like studies, preparation for bigger things (which she unfortunately never got around to), trying to see what can be done in writing. Her fiction isn't completely straightforward; often it is even visually striking, the text broken up or divided, for example. This aspect of her work shouldn't scare readers off: it's sensible experimentation, easy enough to follow if one just tries. And she's very good at it: it's not experimentation for it's own sake, but rather serves real purposes.
     Until the Dalkey Archive Press-resurrection Quin had been largely forgotten, barely even rating mention in literary histories and the like. Her work is worth knowing; almost all of it is interesting.

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Ann Quin : Ann Quin's books at the complete review: See also:
  • Works by fellow innovative writer, B.S.Johnson
  • Index of Contemporary British fiction at the complete review
  • Index of other Author Pages at the complete review

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