Tense Little Lives: Uncollected prose of Ray Mathew
NLA, $29.95 pb, 336 pp
If we keep hearing about our famous expatriates, the Greers and Jameses and Hugheses and the like, it is because they have made it their business to ensure we do. Gone but not forgotten. Others such as Randolph Stow or Alan Seymour were less busy at self-promotion. But Ray Mathew was a mere rumour. You saw his books here and there in the antiquarian bookshops, especially the short stories, A Bohemian Affair (1961), and the joint collection with Mena Abdullah, Time of the Peacock (1965). Some of his plays were eventually gathered into representative collections. Mathew himself seemed to disappear into thin air. Tom Shapcott’s project is to retrieve a writer he believes we should have paid more heed to.