.99 cents when purchased on our website
For August's ebook deal we've chosen Claude Houghton's masterpiece, I AM JONATHAN SCRIVENER (1930). It includes an introduction by Washington Post columnist and Pulitzer Prize-winning critic Michael Dirda, who writes that "I Am Jonathan Scrivener remains a tantalizing, highly diverting philosophical novel of rare elegance and wit." Or, as the Sunday Times put it in 1930: "I defy anybody to put down the book until the last page be reached."
James Wrexham is thirty-nine, lonely, and stuck in a dead-end job when he comes upon an advertisement for a position as secretary to Mr. Jonathan Scrivener. Much to his surprise, he is hired at a lavish salary despite never even meeting Scrivener, and he is told to take up residence at once in the flat of his new employer, who has suddenly disappeared. Mystified by Scrivener’s strange conduct and desperate to learn something about him, it seems Wrexham will get the answers he seeks when Scrivener’s friends begin to visit the flat: Pauline Mandeville, an ethereal beauty, Francesca Bellamy, a widow who may be responsible for the death of her husband, Andrew Middleton, a disillusioned alcoholic, and Antony Rivers, a handsome playboy. But as each of them unfolds his story about Scrivener, it seems that none of them are describing the same person, though all are obsessed with finding him. Why has he hired Wrexham, and why does he seem to have thrust this unlikely group of people together? Is Scrivener engaged in an inscrutable experiment, or could he be laying some kind of trap?
“Elegant, unsettling . . . Variously evoking P.G. Wodehouse's wit and G.K. Chesterton's cerebral thrillers, this thoughtful puzzle of a novel should strike readers as a still-fresh discovery.” - Publishers Weekly, July 2013
“[I]t should be a worthwhile discovery for anyone: it remains as unputdownable as it famously was in the 1930s.” – Phil Baker, Times Literary Supplement
“Here is a novel that has fascination, wit, suspense and a grand motivating idea. . . . I could easily believe it the most brilliant work of its kind for 1930. . . . [Y]ou will be entertained and beguiled by a pretty wit, a brilliant gift for situations and a sense of mystery that will make you want to skip pages.” – Pittsburgh Press
“The novels of this young British story teller just can’t be shoved into any recognized category . . . his superbly plotted stories have a psychological tension which is unique in the literature of the day.” – Milwaukee Sentinel
“So remarkable in truth is this novel that I cannot understand why it is not universally known and admired.” - Hugh Walpole