Olivia walked along the Avenue Matignon hating her husband. Fallen chestnut blossoms made a threadbare carpet which she looked at vehemently. She would have liked to love him, which was probably why she hated.
LIVERPOOL DAILY POST … Miss Mayo's novel is Sagan without the puppy-fat; very feminine yet as controlled, as muscular as a Hemingway. It's an intelligent story of a marriage gone wrong and the wife's attempt to free herself from her Sicilian husband Giovanni. An offbeat novel, the whole thing has pace and chic, is palpable and real. NEWS OF THE WORLD … Controversial, for it's partly concerned with the love affair of a black man and a white girl.
THE BULLETIN – These novels [by Denton Welch, Saul Bellow, Gael Mayo] are emotional and Gael Mayo's appealed to me the most … She invades Sagan territory with a story of younger women and older men and lots of l'amour. She is a much better writer than Sagan, and if there is any justice she should make a mint of money ... The 'nobody's nothing' is at first Liza, an English-born painter in Paris, called 'the cat girl' because she mixes yet remains apart, until the day she meets an impoverished man with a ruined castle and marriage. Liza's love falters only once, when she sacrifices her baby. Her man Louis found the right words at one of those moments which can be the end, or a new beginning. She was more fortunate than the novel's final nobody's nothing, Veronica, French American, whose first man Colin always failed to recognise such crucial moments, and whose second man Pio was a Spaniard with rigid ideas which constricted and finally killed their association. You can read the book as a story. Or as an examination of modern woman failing to find a man who can compromise satisfactorily between freedom and imprisonment for her. Or as a study of French and Spanish attitudes. It has many levels. The style is broad and powerful.
original edition | Barrie and Rockliff 1963 HB 224pp | BookBlast ePublishing, reprint 2018
LAST SEEN NEAR TRAFALGAR
Gael Elton Mayo
COUNTRYMAN – Gael Mayo reiterates the tentative and delicate world of Elizabeth Bowen. She challenges progress and sticks out for the old values. Last Seen Near Trafalagar is an extremely civilised version of the story about the girl who has to choose between the country boy who stays at home and the country boy who goes to town. The first, Michael, represents continuity, permanence — and limitation. His rival is Manuel, a handsome Spaniard in whom pragmatism and imagination, greed and generosity are mixed up. WESTERN MAIL – There is a sensitive clarity about her writing which reminds one of Katherine Mansfield.
original edition | Barrie and Rockliff 1965 HB 192pp | BookBlast ePublishing reprint, 2018
IT'S LOCKED IN WITH YOU
Gael Elton Mayo
SUNDAY TELEGRAPH – A beautifully written piece which builds up tension in atmosphere and in the psychological make up of the main character, a young singer left alone in the crumbling family chateau belonging to her French husband. Alone, but not alone: for the 'Presences' of long dead ancestors are credibly and eerily real. Miss Mayo is skilled in the art of suspense, delicate in the selection of words that create drama without melodrama.
original edition | Hutchinson 1968, HB 156pp Albin Michel 1969 HB | BookBlast ePublishing reprint, 2018
Gael Elton Mayo
LITERARY REVIEW – Limpid … moving as well as beautiful. Full of poignant word-pictures and situations. It is a pleasure to emerge from fiction emotionally strengthened. SUNDAY TIMES – A magnetic and poignant story in refreshingly good prose. HILARY MANTEL, DAILY TELEGRAPH – Remarkable for its imaginative use of language, for its delicacy, sadness and restraint. LESLEY BLANCH – Untamed yet domestic, as if Pan comes in from the wilds to cook an omelette. Gael Elton Mayo has an indefinable quality like no other writer.
original edition : Quartet Books | September 1989 136 pages | BookBlast ePublishing reprint, 2018
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