Alms for Oblivion is a series of ten novels, all telling separate stories but at the same time linked together by the characters they have in common: schoolboys and businessmen, writers and soldiers, prostitutes and patient wives, actresses and models. In the first four novels Raven's wayward band of upper-class anti-heroes lurch from debauched parties to rehearsals for nuclear war; from blackmail to murder; from marriage to adultery and back again.
Volume 1: The Rich Pay Late, Friends in Low Places, The Sabre Squadron and Fielding Gray
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Raven's unique vision of our times - classes battling, corruption raging, ideas flashing - is not only valid but valuable. He spins webs of chance, intrigue and wit to ensnare civilised values and trap the truth. It's high time we gave this very curious genius a loud, warm welcome. - Mail on Sunday
A ready made cult waiting to be discovered - Spectator
Raven's gusto, the robustness of his style and his powerful, if quirky, intelligence all held me rapt - Sunday Telegraph
Sparkling and fizzing... Raven has the mind of a cad and the pen of an angel - Guardian
Raven is an extraordinary mix of mincing wit and high style, and it cannot be denied he has made his own world - Guardian
Bawdy, sharply observed and great fun – a true chronicle of British decline in the twentieth century. The author understands how we got to where we are today better than most, and shakes his fist at the modern world while indulging himself in all the questionable pleasures it has to offer - Tablet
Author Simon Raven was perhaps known as much for his controversial behaviour as for his writing. He grew up reading and studying the classics, translating them from Greek and Latin into English and vice-versa. He was expelled from Charterhouse School in 1945 for homosexual activities, having first been seduced at the age of nine by the games master (an experience he described as giving 'immediate and unalloyed pleasure') and went on to join the army. Following his National Service, Raven attended King's College, Cambridge to read English. Raven later returned to the army but was asked to resign rather than face a court-martial for 'conduct unbecoming.' It was at this point that he turned his focus to writing. The publisher Anthony Blond paid Raven to write and to move away from London to Deal, Kent. His works span a multitude of genres including fiction, drama, essays, memoirs and screenplays. Simon Raven died in May 2001, having written his own epitaph: 'He shared his bottle - and, when still young and appetising, his bed.'