This article in the Paris Review sent me back to Olivia Manning, a writer I haven’t thought about for years. Remember her Balkan Trilogy, which was made into a 7-part TV adaptation by the BBC? That wasn’t until after her death, unfortunately – Manning was bitter about her lack of recognition, and particularly peeved about Iris Murdoch’s fame. I love her riposte when A.S. Byatt said The Rain Forest, the only one of her books ever listed for the Booker, was “slow”:
I wouldn’t call La Byatt exactly a sprinter.
So true. And I must say I share her exasperation at the canonisation of Iris.