Anthony Burgess was an officer in the Colonial Service and in The Malayan Trilogy he satirizes the dog days of colonialism.
Victor Crabbe is a well-meaning, ineffectual Englishman in the tropics, keen to teach the Malays what the West can do for them. Through Crabbe’s rise and fall, and through a series of wonderfully colourful characters, Burgess lays bare the racial and social prejudices of post-war Malaya during the upheaval of Independence.
Here was a place that was going to disappear from the British consciousness before long, namely Malaya, and it had to be written about. I suppose it was kind of a deliberate attempt to encase the atmosphere of the place in fiction. I knew it had been done by Somerset Maugham . . . but good as he is and as much as he’s recognized as the real fictional authority on Malaya he never knew the people, he never knew the language. I did and I was able to write from the inside. — Anthony Burgess
‘Like all good comic writers Mr Burgess lives his creations as much as he writes them. First class.’ Observer
Tigers at the Double Lion
While staying recently in Chiswick, I went on a literary pilgrimage to Glebe Street, where Anthony Burgess and his wife Lynn lived in the 1960s. I wasn’t sure what I would do when I got to No. 24....Read more