Ronald Firbank

Widely considered to be Firbank's finest novel, Valmouth (1919) is set in a fictional coastal town in the West of England, where the air is so glorious that the population is mainly composed of over-sexed centenarians. Among the colourful characters are the Catholic Mrs. Hurstpierpoint and her friend Mrs. Thorougfare; the Tooke family, who run a dairy farm and whose daughter is in love with Mrs. Thoroughfare's son Dick; and Mrs. Yajñavalkya, a black masseuse whose promised aphordisiacs are in high demand...

An intriguing combination of modernism and high camp, the novel has been admired by writers such as W.H. Auden, Evelyn Waugh, E.M. Forster and (more recently) Alan Hollinghurst for the self-conscious decadence of its archaic style and the outrageousness of its satire.

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