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The Survival of The Fittest

3.83 based on 4 ratings & 1 reviews on

16 December 11


An epic novel following a group of friends from their youth in the 1930s through middle age in the 1960s, The Survival of the Fittest unties the intertwined threads of politics, history, love and literature which link the group. Their coming of age in the shadow of World War II marks them and sets them apart, literature unites them: the unassuming, kind, stable Alison and the hard-drinking, mercurial Kit rise from anonymity to become successful novelists; Clem is a well-known political journalist; Bobby writes communist novels; and Jo publishes a single short story. Each, both writers and non-writers, attempts to help the aspiring writer Jo, who cannot escape his childhood home because he and his sister must care for their domineering, crippled mother. And, since he does not form new familial bonds, friendship means the most to him.

About Pamela Hansford Johnson

Pamela Hansford Johnson was born in 1912 and gained recognition with her first novel, This Bed Thy Centre, published in 1935. She wrote 27 novels. Her themes centred on the moral responsibility of the individual in their personal and social relations. The fictional genres she used ranged from romantic comedy (Night and Silence, Who Is Here) and high comedy (The Unspeakable Skipton) to tragedy (The Holiday Friend) and the psychological study of cruelty (An Error of Judgement). Her last novel, A Bonfire, was published in the year of her death, 1981. " " " " She was a critic as well as a novelist and wrote books on Thomas Wolfe and Ivy Compton-Burnett; Six Proust Reconstructions (1958) confirmed her reputation as a leading Proustian scholar. She also wrote a play, Corinth House (1954), a work of social criticism arising out of the Moors Trial, On Iniquity (1967), and a book of essays, Important to Me (1974). She received honorary degrees from six universities and was a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. She was awarded the C.B.E. in 1975. " " " " Pamela Hansford Johnson, who had two children by her first marriage with journalist Gordon Neil Stewart, later married C. P. Snow. Their son Philip was born in 1952.