Posted on 18th October 2010

By Miranda McKearney OBE, Chief Executive, The Reading Agency

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Fiction Uncovered by… Miranda McKearney, The Reading Agency

I first read Alan Isler’s The Prince of West End Avenue when it was published in 1994 and still return to it every few years. Hardly anyone I know has heard of him… but maybe you all have and we’ll form a new fan base.

This book’s set in a New York old people’s home, and they’re about to embark on a production of Hamlet. I love the way Isler catches the ironically hilarious life of the home and the acid but hideously vulnerable voice of the main character, a holocaust survivor.

I don’t think I’ve ever read a better description of a marriage gone wrong. And the way he pulls off a set of revelations at the end that make sense of the whole thing reminded me of Conrad’s endings.

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