Welcome to the Penny Post June Quiz, on the theme of novels. This month we’re breaking with convention and having two prizes, both kindly donated by Emma and Alex at the Hungerford Bookshop.
• The runner-up prize is a pair of tickets to any of the book events organised by the Hungerford Bookshop in 2017 (except the Jane Austen Weekend).
• The winning prize is another pair of tickets on the same terms and also a selection of pre-publication books and a bookrest.
To enter, simply email your answers to email@example.com by 6pm on Friday 30 June (extended deadline).
So, here we go:
1 Which book’s last line is ‘”Well, I’m back,” he said.’? The Return of the King, the third part of The Lord of the Rings trilogy. When I first read this book, being young and silly I turned first of all to the last page and read this line. “That’s a bit downbeat,” I thought and nearly didn’t bother to read it. Glad I did.
2 What name links the narrators of A Dance to the Music of Time and The Great Gatsby? They’re both called Nick (and both sometimes so passive that you want to reach into the page and give them a shake). You can read a review of The Great Gatsby (and several other books) here.
3 What links Aldous Huxley and CS Lewis (and President Kennedy)? They all died on 22 November 1963. Guess which of the three got the most obituaries.
4 Imber Court is the principal setting for which Iris Murdoch novel? The Bell, a truly wonderful novel. You can read a review of it (and several other books) here.
5 In which novel do two of the characters have a lovingly described lunch at Paillard’s in Paris? Rex Mottram and narrator Charles Ryder enjoyed this meal in Evelyn Waugh’s masterpiece, Brideshead Revisited.
6 Which Booker prize-winning author was born in Nagasaki? Kazuro Ishiguro, on 8 November 1954. The Remains of the Day won him the Booker Prize in 1989 (the film version is also superb).
7 What is unusual about Agatha Christie’s novel The Murder of Roger Ackroyd? Spoiler alert…The narrator was the murderer.
8 What is even more unusual about one of the novels written by Ernest Vincent Wright? His 1939 novel Gadsby doesn’t contain the letter ‘e’ once in all its 50,000 words. As about 12% of the letters in a typical English sentence are ‘e’ this is a staggering achievement. Were he to have been Dutch, this would have been even harder as it that language you might expect an ‘e’ nearly one letter out of every five: if Icelandic, quite a bit easier as the letter only appears about 6.5% of the time, about the same frequency as does ‘n’ in English.
9 Which writer created the character Ashenden? Somerset Maugham, in his series of short stories first published as The British Agent.
10 Which writer created the character Xavier March? Robert Harris, in Fatherland.
11 Which writer created the character Rebecca Bloomwood? Sophie Kinsella, in her ‘shopaholic’ series of novels.
12 Which writer created the character Ned Stark? (Also known as Eddard Stark, Lord of Winterfell and Warden of the North.) George RR Martin, in his Game of Thrones novels.
13 Which writer created the character Lady Deadlock? Charles Dickens, in Bleak House.
14 Who wrote a series of novels set in Rutshire? Jilly Cooper (who else?).
15 Which novel begins with a funeral in England and ends with a couple dancing in Paraguay? Graham Greene’s Travels with my Aunt, certainly the most amusing and probably the most accessible of his novels and the only one I can think of that’s entirely free of Catholic angst.
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