Stanley Middleton won the Booker Prize in 1974 for his novel Holiday. Nonetheless, his books are not widely-acclaimed in the U.S. In 1989, a New York Times reviewer called his novel Entry into Jerusalem “buttoned-up.” In 1992 Kirkus Reviews called his novel Changes and Chances “Vintage workaday Middleton, neither surprising nor spectacular, but carefully built and realized.”
A couple of years ago, I found a copy of Middleton’s Holiday in London and wondered, Why haven’t I heard of him before? I went on to read Middleton’s superb Valley of Decision (which I blogged about here) and An After-Dinner’s Sleep (here). And I found these two novels both “surprising [and] spectacular.”
I recently read an excellent essay in the TLS on Middleton, which centers on several of his books recently reissued by Windmill and a book of his poetry. And so I went online to check prices for these and several of his out-of-print books.
At Amazon, the cheapest copy of a hardcover of Cold Gradations (1972) is $546.68. You can get a better deal at Abebooks, where the cheapest price is $126.61. I don’t know what makes this book so expensive, but am relieved that quite a few of his other books go for $5 (a price that interests me) or $10 (too high for me, but reasonable).
What makes Cold Gradations so expensive?
I don’t understand bookselling. Maybe they played Monopoly for bankruptcy.
I will be looking for a cheap copy of Cold Gradations, so the booksellers may want to drop the price.