Format Paperback and ebook
Published 5 July 2018
Length 192 pages
ISBN 9781905559954 (ebook)
Read Bryan Cheyette's article on Clive Sinclair in Jewish Quarterly (Summer 2018)
Shylock Must Die
Since his first public appearance in the late 1590s, Shylock has been synonymous with antisemitism. Many of his bon mots remain common currency with Jew-haters; among them "3000 ducats" and the immortal "pound of flesh". But Shakespeare, being Shakespeare, was incapable of inventing anyone so uninteresting; instead he affords Shylock such ambiguity that some of his other lines have become keynotes for believers in shared humanity and tolerance.
Following Shakespeare's example these stories – all inspired by The Merchant of Venice – range from the comic to the melancholic. Many pivot on significant productions of the play: Stockholm in 1944, London in 2012, and Venice in 2016. Some are concerned with domestic matters, others with the political, including one – more outrageous than the others – that links Shylock via Israel with the American presidency; most combine both.
Running through these linked stories – of which there are seven, like the ages of man – is the cycle of family life, with all its comedy and tragedy.
'Clive Sinclair was one of the unsung heroes. That is, he was sung but he wasn't sung enough. His own voice, incisive but playful, cracking with humour, subversion and perception, was one of the most distinctive voices of his generation.'
“Witty, playful and magnificently compassionate.”
Kazuo Ishiguro [on The Lady with the Laptop] Sunday Times, Books of the Year
“A fine practitioner of the short story.”
“One of the most inventive writers working in the form today.”
Elizabeth Lowry, Times Literary Supplement
“…truly wonderful. Almost every sentence a surprise...I don’t think I have ever seen anyone performing comical tricks so high up in the air.”
“…at once devastatingly funny and desperately serious.”
Michael Dibdin, The Observer
“Long one of our best story-writers”
Sir Malcolm Bradbury
“Evil, entertaining little fictions…Clive Sinclair is fluent, inventive, linguistically gifted”
Victoria Glendenning, Sunday Times
“…the subconscious erupting violently into daily life… It is not for the squeamish or the lazy. His stories work you hard; tease and torment and shock you”
About Clive Sinclair
The recipient of various prizes including the Somerset Maugham Award, the Jewish Quarterly Prize and the Macmillan Silver Pen Award for Fiction, Clive Sinclair was selected as one of the original Best of Young British Novelists in 1983. He was a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, and held a doctorate from the University of East Anglia. He taught there, at the University of Uppsala, and the University of California at Santa Cruz, where his son Seth was born.
Clive lived in London with the artist Haidee Becker until his death on 5 March 2018.