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Kavanagh, P(atrick) J(oseph)

(British, 1931– )

Born in Worthing, Sussex, P. J. Kavanagh was educated at Oxford and writes poetry, journalism, and for television. Of his novels, begin with A Song and Dance (1968), which displays his characteristic gift for combining emotional seriousness with an optimistic lightness of tone. The heady atmosphere of the London media scene in the 1960s is evoked as a background to its heroine's doomed love-affair. A big win on the horses ends the main protagonist's uneventfully hedonistic routine in A Happy Man (1972). His philosophy of detached acceptance is tested while holidaying on a tropical island where his girlfriend deserts him and civil war breaks out. Only by Mistake (1986) moves rapidly between the home counties, Dublin, and the Scottish island of Hoy as a successful actor goes on the run after inadvertently angering the IRA.

John Wain, William Boyd  DH

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Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionBooks & Authors: Award-Winning Fiction (Ha-Ke)