Buttoned-up: Playing Monopoly with Stanley Middleton

One of my favorite books by Stanley Middleton.

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.

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