Born in Sussex, England, and educated at Magdalen College, Oxford, in the early 1950’s, Gavin Lambert lived in London, where he founded the film magazine Sequence and edited and wrote for Sight and Sound. During this decade, in which he developed a reputation as the best of English film critics, he wrote the script for the film Another Sky, which he then directed on location in Morocco. Yet to Lambert’s way of thinking, British arts were stagnating, whereas the United States seemed to encourage innovation and to hold more promise and freedom for artists. When Lambert emigrated to Hollywood in 1956 he began a second career as a novelist with The Slide Area (1960). Among other credits, Lambert wrote the screenplay for the film adaptation of his second novel, Inside Daisy Clover. In 1960 he was nominated for an Academy Award for his screenplay Sons and Lovers. He was nominated for this award again in 1977 for I Never Promised You a Rose Garden. Living in the Los Angeles area, Lambert became an American citizen in 1964; he has spent occasional periods in France (he grew disenchanted with the United States in the 1970’s) and Morocco.
Lambert’s The Slide Area explores the Los Angeles area through the eyes of a writer caught between a film script on which he does not enjoy working and a novel he cannot seem to get started. The “slide area” is both geographical and metonymic Los Angeles, which in Lambert’s eyes embodies the precarious and illusory aspects of twentieth century America. Norman’s Letter is an epistolary novel whose...
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