book of forgotten authors feature

The Book of Forgotten Authors – A Review




BOOK: The Book of Forgotten Authors

AUTHOR: Christopher Fowler


I was fascinated by the title of this book, and by its subject matter. It is, exactly as described, a collection of short pieces about various authors, once better known, who have fallen out of favor, or at any rate, out of the public consciousness. A perfect gift for the voracious reader in your life, this book about books delivers.


Christopher Fowler is good company, as the short essays are well-researched, informative, and frequently quite entertaining. I certainly haven’t forgotten some of these authors…I’ve written here about books by Margery Allingham, E.M. Delafield, and Georgette Heyer (more than once). And I’m an Edmund Crispin enthusiast, as well as a fan of Barbara Pym, although I have yet to get around to reviewing any of their work. (Note to self: must rectify that situation soon to help save them from undeserved oblivion.) But many of the other authors here were quite unfamiliar to me. For the book lover, that is an absolutely terrific thing, and my kind could not ask for a more enthusiastic and engaging guide than Mr. Fowler. In the biography on the book jacket, we find this gem: “Mr. Fowler is still alive and one day plans to realise his ambition to become a Forgotten Author himself.” I, for one, do not wish him success in this endeavor.


Besides Fowler’s focus on specific authors currently neglected, the chapters are interspersed with essays on particular topics: books made into Disney movies, pulp fiction, nonsense writers (can Edward Lear really be an unknown these days?), authors that the English-speaking world is deprived of due to lack of translations, and so on.


One of the things I appreciate about old books is the sheer serendipity of finding a good one in an unlikely place. You can find treasures above price in rummage sales, library fundraisers, dusty old shelves in beach houses, in novels abandoned on planes and at train stations. Much of it is terrible, but some of it is wonderful, and if The Book of Forgotten Authors doesn’t send you off to a used bookshop to give some old paperbacks a try, nothing will.


RATING (one to five whistles, with five being the best): 4 Whistles




Laura LaVelle is an attorney and writer who lives in Connecticut, in a not quite 100-year-old house, along with her husband, two daughters, and a cockatiel.

Laura can be contacted at


Lead-In Image Courtesy of Quercus Books



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