Angel Pavement


The steady but unexciting business life of Messrs Twigg and Dersingham, London-based agents for the supply of inlays and veneers to the furniture trade, is turned upside down when the firm is virtually taken over by a complete stranger, the buccaneering and distinctly dubious James Golspie. The novel focuses on the devastating effect his arrival and that of his beautiful but easily bored daughter Lena have on the head of the firm, the rather ineffectual Howard Dersingham, and three of his employees, Mr Smeeth, the cashier, Miss Matfield, the typist and Turgis, the distinctly unprepossessing young clerk. One of Priestley’s finest novels, a major work of great emotional depth, full of marvellous detail (including a vivid portrait of London itself) and splendid set-pieces (Smeeth’s visit to a symphony concert, the Dersingham’s disastrous dinner party to welcome Golspie, and so on.) And although the sexual element is toned down its darker side is well in evidence.

The novel has been twice adapted by BBC Television, in 1957 and 1967, and there is also a fascinating (and surprising) Russian television version dating from 1969. It is currently available in a 2012 edition by Great Northern Books, with valuable introductory material by Tom Priestley, President of The J B Priestley Society, Lee Hanson, its Chairman and D J Taylor, a biographer, critic, reviewer and novelist.

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