Ellis Sharp: Quin Again


The latest addition to my website is Ellis Sharp‘s Quin Again. Though subtitled and other stories, it reads as a novel as all but one of the stories is about the same character, albeit with a different name on a couple of occasions. He is Elijah Doodles McMaster aka Douglas Moog. He is a habitual drug and alcohol user and not too successful either in his personal or professional life. Not surprisingly, as with most Sharp protagonists, he has a grim view of life. We follow his bleak view of London and elsewhere in the UK. We follow his failures in life. And we see life through his eyes and it is not a pretty view. The final and by far the longest story is called Quin Again and is about Clifford Tollinger, the protagonist of Sharp’s To Wetumpka. While he does have seemingly real though not very successful relationships with women, this is mainly about his imaginary relationship with the late novelist Ann Quin. Indeed, the story starts with his current girlfriend (who will later realise that she is a Lesbian) telling him of Quin’s death. His imaginings, which are inevitably anything but conventional, involve a sexual, intellectual and adulatory relationship with Quin. though, as he says at the end, in the meantime, I wait for Quin and death. This is the usual Ellis Sharp strangeness but, as long as you accept that he is not a conventional novelist, you will find that he is a thoroughly original writer and well worth reading.

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