We’ve been waiting to do Ann Quin for ages and have finally decided the time has come – for May’s read we will be reading Ann Quin – BERG.
Ann Quin (born 17 Mar 1936 in Brighton, Sussex-? Aug 1973) was a British writer noted for her experimental style. The author of Berg (1964), Three (1966), Passages (1969) and Tripticks (1972), she committed suicide in 1973 at the age of 37, the same year as B.S. Johnson (to whom she is often compared). Quin came from a working-class family and was educated at the Convent of the Blessed Sacrament. She trained as a shorthand typist and worked in a solicitor’s office, then at a publishing company when she moved to Soho and began writing novels. Her first, Berg, was published by John Calder in 1964. Influenced by Virginia Woolf and other female British modernists, as well as the French nouveau roman, the opening line – “A man called Berg, who changed his name to Greb, came to a seaside town intending to kill his father…” – set the tone for a dark, psychological farce set in Quin’s home town, which became the most critically acclaimed of her four novels.
Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be a wealth of information on Quin, as Lee Rourke points out in his Guardian blog, but I have found this website dedicated to Quin’s life and work but still struggling to find the trailer for Killing Dad (1989), the film based on BERG starring Richard E Grant and Julie Walters – if anyone finds a link to it please post it in the comments!