Edward Upward & serendipity

POSTED: October 8, 2019

Last week I thought about political novel writing, and reminded myself of that trilogy I had read in the eighties. I could not remember the name of the trilogy, the individual novels that comprised it, or the author. I tried googling but could not find a query that would reveal what I wanted.

Yesterday Irma asked me to get some old unwanted novels from the back shed to take to the book exchange at Helsinki airport when we leave for India on Sunday. I went out in the almost-dark of early evening and found fourteen paperbacks. Tarku had given us some and I had found others in secondhand bookshops in Helsinki, Porvoo and Pellinki.

When I got indoors I looked at them in more detail to make sure that I actually wanted to get rid of them. I picked up a copy of Christopher Isherwood’s second novel The Memorial and realised that I had not actually read it. I put it to one side and then later in the evening actually started it.

I liked it. I liked the structure and the dialogue, and the depiction of the characters.

Tonight, two thirds of the way through it, I decided to look in Wikipedia at Isherwood’s entry to see what I could see.

Straight away I saw that, at school, he formed a life-long friendship with Edward Upward. I knew at once that Upward had written the trilogy that had come into my mind last week.

I looked at his entry and found the name of the trilogy: The Spiral Ascent. I added that to Todoist as something that I should try to find in a library at some point. I then saw the external link at the bottom of the page to his official site, and went there.

Edward Upward died in 2009, at the age of 106. He had spent most of his life as a socialist, and had made his trilogy available free late in his life. I discovered that I could therefore download all three of the novels as .epub or .pdf files from his website.

I did.

I also added this to my list of serendipitous happenings.