Address Unknown at the Soho Theatre: What the Papers Say

If you are a regular reader of our Take Home a Souvenir blog, no doubt you will have seen last month’s blog post about Address Unknown, the book by Katherine Kressmann Taylor, now taken to the stage at the Soho Theatre. With performances in French and English (though the French performances have now finished their run), this fascinating play is garnering rave reviews from all sections of the press.

Take a look at the round up of reviews for Address Unknown at the Soho Theatre:

“Address Unknown is a poignant story of broken friendship that deals in high tragedy while refusing to slip into melodrama. … Steve Marmion’s production effectively emphasises the frustrating sense of helplessness that comes from the distance between the characters, with snippets of broadcasts and radio static adding to the mounting tension.” – Evening Standard, 4 stars.

“A shockingly potent story that is well worth hearing, and one that reminds how easily politics, prejudice and circumstance destroy lives.” – The Guardian, 3 stars.

“An absorbing hour that offers a vivid depiction of how a sense of betrayal can lead to desperate measures.” – The Times, 3 stars.

“A must see.” – One Stop Arts, 4 stars.

“A stunning play … It’s a powerful piece, well staged and well acted … Essential viewing for our modern times.” – The Gay UK, 4 stars.

“Normally a home primarily to new writing, the theatre has taken a gamble on staging a 75-year-old play. And that gamble has paid off. … a provocative and devastating hour of friendship and betrayal.” – A Younger Theatre.

Address Unknown is showing at the Soho Theatre until 27th July. You can book tickets now, and be sure to pick up a copy of the book before you see the play!

address unknown

Address Unknown at the Soho Theatre

Kressmann Taylor’s Address Unknown has an extraordinary history for an international bestseller, and now it will be further enhanced as it takes to the stage.

Originally published in the USA in 1938, Katherine Kressmann Taylor’s Address Unknown became an immediate bestseller. The subject of the book being inappropriate for a woman to be writing about at the time, her publishers dropped her first name and the book was published under her masculine sounding family name, Kressmann Taylor. Unsurprisingly the book was banned in Germany, and Taylor found herself on Hitler’s death list for daring to write such a book.

With the onset of war European publishing was a lost opportunity, and it wasn’t until recently that the book was rediscovered for the classic that it is. In 1995 it was reissued in the USA for the 50th anniversary of the liberation of the concentration camps, garnering rave reviews again:

[b]etter just to call it a masterpiece … remarkable power and economy … a reminder that important messages come in small envelopes.”  – TIME Magazine

“[t]his modern story is perfection itself.  It is the most effective indictment of Nazism to appear in fiction.” – The New York Times Book Review

[a] tale already known and profoundly appreciated by members of my generation.  It is to our part in World War II what ‘Uncle Toms Cabin’s’ was to the Civil War.” – Kurt Vonnegut

Here in the UK we at Souvenir Press rediscovered it in 2002 and have already reprinted it thirteen times to an equally enthusiastic press:

[t]his simple but profound work reminds us just how cowardly other story writers have been … ‘Address Unknown’ remains one of the most significant, innovative and genuinely engaged fictions about the Nazi era.” – The New Statesman

spend three-quarters of an hour with it and you’ll be jabbing all comers with the injunction: “Read!”” – The Guardian

“celebrate[s] the power of words to name, accuse and condemn human evil.  Taylor’s book is a rare example of fiction that has made a political difference.” – The Times

Previously it has been broadcast by the BBC as an Afternoon Play with Henry Goodman and Patrick Malahide and also at festivals including one in London starring Andrew Sachs and Henry Goodman. Now the pioneering Soho Theatre in the West End of London is simultaneously staging (in early/mid-June) the French adaptation, bringing over its film star participants Christian Clavier (Les Visiteurs, Astérix & Obélix: Mission Cléopâtre), and Thierry Lhermitte (An American Werewolf in Paris, Les Papas du dimanche, Le noir (te) vous va si bien; and an English version with Jonathan Cullen and Simon Kunz, both directed by Steve Marmion, Soho Theatre’s Artistic Director.

This timeless tale of friendship and betrayal” will run from 13th June to 27th July, with the French performances running between 13th June and 22nd June.

Want to book tickets? Check out the Soho Theatre website for more information, ticket pricing and booking.

Want to read the book before you see the play? Find out more on the Souvenir Press website, or order a copy in hardback or e-book.

address unknown

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Reviews round-up

This week has got off to a flying start here at Souvenir Press as we arrived in to the office this gloomy Monday morning to a selection of wonderful reviews of our new and recent titles. Have you written a review of a Souvenir Press title and want it to be included in our next review round-up here on the blog? Send me a message in the comments, on Facebook, on Twitter, or by email using the address in the Contact Us page.

Telling Tales in Latin by Lorna Robinson

“Each chapter tells a story and draws the reader straight into Latin with stories, exercises and suggestions, cleverly set out to give the reader confidence that he can read and understand Latin. The colourful illustrations add greatly to the enjoyment of the book. It’s a very interesting approach which shows that Latin is still relevant and enjoyable today.” – Parents In Touch (read the full review)

Telling Tales in Latin is an inviting, absorbing, and embracing learning experience. Young students new to the language will enjoy themselves, and love their learning, both of Latin and classical mythology, and be inspired to learn more. It’s a beautiful beginners’ book, the like of which most of us never had in the past, and I look forward to its success and the love that its students will have for it in years to come.” – The Classics Library (read the full review)

Where the Ghosts Walk by Peter Underwood

“‘Where the Ghosts Walk’ is set to become the handbook and must-read for every seasoned and every would-be paranormal investigator. … If I could give this book 12 out of 10 then I would. Excellent work Mr Underwood….excellent, excellent work.” – Ghost Investigators blog (read the full review)

Welcome to Biscuit Land by Jessica Thom

“An honest, moving account… This book is a valuable one for anyone who lives with Tourettes or knows someone who does. …  Jessica Thom is inspirational and her story will help, encourage and amuse millions of people around the globe who understand or want to learn what it’s like living with Tourettes.” – Blogcritics (read the full review)

Code Name Caesar by Jerome Preisler and Kenneth Sewell

“The only submarine in history to sink another submarine in underwater combat.” – Britain at War

Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by Betty Edwards

“The standard work for artists, teachers and millions of students and amateur artists… It should be on every artist’s bookshelf.” – The Artist, June 2013 issue

Tintin in the New World by Frederic Tuten

“A playful and imaginative expansion of the boy reporter’s life experience; he loses his virginity and receives instruction from the main characters in Thomas Mann’s cerebral door-stopper The Magic Mountain.” – Times Literary Supplement (read the full blog)

Out today: Where the Ghosts Walk by Peter Underwood

Things are getting more spooky today at Souvenir Press with the publication of WHERE THE GHOSTS WALK: A Gazetteer of Haunted Britain by Peter Underwood.

Britain is the most haunted country in the world with a wealth of places that feed the imagination. From Cape Head in the north of Scotland to Beachy Head in the south of England, it is a land of ghosts and phantoms.

Peter Underwood’s fiftieth published book, WHERE THE GHOSTS WALK is the culmination of a lifetime’s work devoted to investigating the haunted places of Britain. In this his definitive work, Underwood puts together a thorough guide to places across Britain where ghosts have been seen outside – that is, public places, not buildings or private houses, which can be visited by anyone at any time.

It is arranged by the various environments where ghosts appear: airfields, ancient sites, bridges, battlefields, graveyards, gardens, highways, railways, ruins, seascapes, and woods. From the ghosts of Jacobite soldiers in Gallows Tree Lane, the ghost of King Arthur which has been seen in Tintagel, to the phantom Spitfire of Biggin Hill airfield, WHERE THE GHOSTS WALK is an indispensable guide to the rich world of the unexplained.

Peter Underwood is Britain’s leading authority on the paranormal. He is Life President of the Ghost Club Society and President of the Society for Psychical Studies. He has devoted his life to investigating the haunted places of Britain, over 70 years and 50 books.

“The world’s leading ghost hunter” – The Observer

WHERE THE GHOSTS WALK is now available in paperback and as an e-book.

Where the Ghosts Walk cover

Author Corner: Discovering Classical Myths by Lorna Robinson

Lorna Robinson is the author of Telling Tales in Latin, a new Latin course and storybook for children. With Ovid as the narrator, this book is an ideal first introduction to Latin, and features some of the most famous classical myths including stories from Ovid’s Metamorphoses. These stories are vital for capturing children’s imaginations, and colour illustrations throughout by Soham De help bring these magical stories to life. Telling Tales in Latin features all the grammar and vocabulary needed for the OCR entry level Latin qualification.

Lorna Robinson tells us how she discovered the magic of the myths of ancient Greece, stories that sparked her imagination and which she believes are the way to engage children with studying the classics. Here she shares some of her favourite classical myths.

Like many people, I learned about the myths of the Greeks and Romans as a young child, long before I learned any Latin. When I did first learn Latin, it was alongside descriptions of slaves and masters in country villas, remote and staid characters far removed from the weird, dark, colourful, alive stories that had long fascinated me.

My very first encounter was through the “Usbourne Book of Greek myths and Legends”, which had a picture of the Minotaur on the cover – I can still remember the huge curling horns and the terrible, but oddly human, face. Inside its pages, tales spilled out, precious and mysterious and frightening all at once, in a way my other childhood books were not. All these years later, I still carry those stories with me, and they’ve shaped my world and fuelled my imagination.

Here are two of my favourites!

Orpheus and Eurydice

This is my all-time favourite myth, and appears at the end of my book Telling Tales in Latin, a new Latin course and storybook for children, for that very reason.

The story of a man with the unearthly talent of moving all living things with his song. He lost his wife, and then dared to enter the underworld to ask for her back. Orpheus sings a song of grief so beautiful that even the ghosts weep and Hades is moved. Hades agrees to return Eurydice to life, but on one condition: Orpheus must not turn around before they reach the earth’s surface. They make the gloomy, eerie, lonely ascent, Orpheus first, Eurydice behind. Just as they are getting close, his fear overcomes him and he turns to see if she’s actually there. She instantly slips back into the underworld forever.

There are many things about this story which have haunted me. The fact that this man with his superhuman gift has such a human flaw, and lets his fears overwhelm him is very moving. There’s the image of this one man singing his heart out in that dark, foreboding land, and the ghosts being spellbound as his song enchants the underworld. And finally, there is the unanswerable question of why Hades set this rule at all – is it because he knew Orpheus would fail? Why did there have to be a condition? And why did Orpheus give in, so close to the end?

Persephone and Demeter

This is the story of how we came to have seasons. The tale goes that Persephone, daughter of Demeter, the goddess of fertility and plants, was picking flowers in a field, when Hades saw her and seized her away to the underworld to be his wife. Demeter searched high and low but couldn’t find her daughter. She grieved and mourned, and while she did this, the plants and crops all withered and died as she neglected to care for them. Eventually, she discovered that Hades had her daughter and she went to get her back. While Persephone had been in the underworld, she had eaten six pomegranate seeds and so she had to spend six months of every year with Hades, but for the remaining six months, she could return to earth to be with her mother. And so it was forever more, that for the six months that she is in the underworld each year, Demeter grieves and all the crops and plants and trees die – this is our autumn and winter. But when she returns, everything flourishes again and we have our spring and summer.

As with the Orpheus story, part of the fascination for me with this story is the strange and unwritten rule. Why does eating in the underworld invoke this rule – what does it represent about life and death and beliefs surrounding these things? Also, there is the human element within this goddess who is so powerful, that she grieves desperately for her daughter. And finally, for me there is something wonderful about explaining the seasons in such human, emotional terms.

So these are my favourites. What are yours?

Telling Tales in LatinTelling Tales in Latin by Lorna Robinson, illustrated by Soham De, is published May 2013 by Souvenir Press.

Code Name Caesar: The Secret Hunt for U-Boat 864 During World War II

Published today by Souvenir Press, CODE NAME CAESAR by Jerome Preisler and Kenneth Sewell reveals one of World War II’s most intriguing untold stories: the hunt by MI6, the British Navy, the Norwegian resistance and the RAF’s 617 Dambusters Squadron for the German U-Boat U-864 towards the end of the Second World War.

What made U-864 such an important target was what was on board: with German forces suffering huge losses at the hands of the Allies, Hitler made one last attempt to prolong the war and land a decisive blow against the Allied forces. He prepared to send plans and parts for Germany’s weapon technology – jet aircraft, rockets, mini-submarines – along with scientists to develop the technology, to his Japanese allies. U-864 was ordered to transport this most valuable cargo, carrying on board the opportunity to lengthen the war.

With German technology and expertise, the Japanese would divert more Allied troops to the war in the Pacific, giving Germany time to regroup.

British codebreakers based at Bletchley Park discovered Hitler’s plan and, working with the Norwegian resistance movement, the RAF sent its Dambuster Squadron on bombing raids against German naval installations in an attempt to destroy U-864… and its deadly cargo. But the submarine escaped, and slipped out to sea.

Now the British Navy had only one chance to destroy the U-Boat.

CODE NAME CAESAR is the thrilling true story of the hunt for U-864, an event that changed the course of the war, and the course of history. As gripping as a thriller, it brings to life the tense, action-packed underwater battle, recreating one of the least-known but most crucial victories of World War II.

If you want to try a sample of CODE NAME CAESAR, you can read the introduction and beginning of part one on Amazon using the ‘Look Inside’ feature.

CODE NAME CAESAR is available now in hardback and as an e-book.

Code Name Caesar

New reviews

Tomorrow sees the publication of one of our new spring titles, but today is your chance to read what people have been saying recently about a selection of our other books, both new and backlist titles. As if you need reminding of the variety of books published here at Souvenir Press, below you’ll find reviews of everything from cricket to creativity, Tao to pregnancy and birth.

Cardus on Cricket / A Fourth Innings with Cardus by Neville Cardus

“The writing is alive, full of daring and almost novelistic observation… Like Grace or Bradman, Sehwag or Gayle, he showed a way towards the future.” – The Cordon Blog, ESPN Cricinfo

Tao: The Watercourse Way by Alan Watts

“Alan Watts’ classic book on Chinese wisdom capturing the spirit of the Taoist attitude to life through its calligraphy and literature.” – Kindred Spirit magazine

The Vein of Gold: A Journey to your Creative Heart by Julia Cameron

“The essential companion to The Artist’s Way, taking you on the next stage of your creative journey… This powerful book inspires artistic mindful living.” – Watkins Review

The FitMama Method by Marie Behenna

“There is advice on how to push your baby out, how to breathe & pant for labour, birthing positions, and other secrets of the labour ward which no one else will tell you! …  I had read this book before I gave birth.” – More4Mums blog

If you’ve seen any reviews (or written one yourself) of a Souvenir book that we might have missed, or if you’d like information about any of our books, you can check out our current catalogue or contact me using the details here.