Forgotten Life

Forgotten Life
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The second volume in the acclaimed Squire Quartet, available for the first time as an ebook.Spanning fifty years and three continents – from pre-war Suffolk, to the Far East in the 1940s, to Oxford and America in the present day – Forgotten Life is a novel of immense scope, encompassing comedy and tragedy, joy and grief, as its three main characters try to work out the most difficult problem of all – the meaning of their own lives.Brian says: ‘This novel, which in retrospect can be seen to have a similar ground plan to Non-Stop, written thirty years earlier, was more warmly received than any other Aldiss novel, not simply by its reviewers but by readers.’Features a new introduction by the author.


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Forgotten Life


Brian Aldiss, OBE, is a fiction and science fiction writer, poet, playwright, critic, memoirist and artist. He was born in Norfolk in 1925. After leaving the army, Aldiss worked as a bookseller, which provided the setting for his first book, The Brightfount Diaries (1955). His first published science fiction work was the story ‘Criminal Record’, which appeared in Science Fantasy in 1954. Since then he has written nearly 100 books and over 300 short stories, many of which are being reissued as part of The Brian Aldiss Collection.

Several of Aldiss’ books have been adapted for the cinema; his story ‘Supertoys Last All Summer Long’ was adapted and released as the film AI in 2001. Besides his own writing, Brian has edited numerous anthologies of science fiction and fantasy stories, as well as the magazine SF Horizons.

Aldiss is a vice-president of the international H. G. Wells Society and in 2000 was given the Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award by the Science Fiction Writers of America. Aldiss was awarded the OBE for services to literature in 2005. He now lives in Oxford, the city in which his bookselling career began in 1947.

Brian Aldiss

Forgotten Life





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Forgotten Life

Title Page




Book One



It was almost roses, roses, all the way. The fans…


Clement Winter left home shortly after nine the next morning,…


Clement folded Ellen’s letters carefully back into their envelopes and…


Clement sat over his brother’s old exercise book for a…


The past immediately becomes history. Even yesterday has undergone a…


About a mile from my billet, in a modest side…


There was at that time a song very popular in…


The crate of film was dumped in the foyer of…


Clement shaved in mild good humour. He had no objection…


And so I found myself, helpless, with a little kaleidoscope…

Book Two



‘You have been a bit absent-minded since we got home,…


Sheila was sympathetic.


When Clement awoke next morning, Sheila had already left the…


Sheila, her husband, and his brother dined together in the…


An old moon was waning above the roof-tops of North…


Clement entered the hallway of his house to find a…


Clement’s night was a restless one. Often he imagined Sheila,…


Inset in the front door of the house in Rawlinson…



About the Publisher


He walked; all round the slumb’ring Glade

Shone the SUBLIME. Through elm and birch

Old cottages led to the Church

While winding Stour a sail display’d

By many a sunlit mound and bend.

But on goes he with inward muse,

And still the DARKNESS him pursues;

He murmurs, ‘Stay, I have no Friend,

No Love, no ABSOLUTION claimed,

And all that IS is ever maimed.’

‘The Calm’ from

A Summer Stroll Through Parts of Suffolk

William Westlake, 1801

Of all persons, those in distress stand most in need of our good offices. And, for that reason, the Author of nature hath planted in the breast of every human creature a powerful advocate to plead their cause.

In man, and in some other animals, there are signs of distress, which nature hath both taught them to use, and taught all men to understand without any interpreter. These natural signs are more eloquent than language; they move our hearts, and produce a sympathy, and a desire to give relief.

There are few hearts so hard, but great distress will conquer their anger, their indignation, and every malevolent affection.

Essays on the Power of the Mind

Thomas Reid, Edinburgh, 1820

Lo, how it guards the son from War’s alarm,

The loving Shelter of a Mother’s arms;

Snatch him too young away and count the Cost,

A tortured Spirit, rostered with the Lost.

from ‘Miss Montagu’s Portrait’

William Westlake, 1790


Forgotten Life opens in razzmatazz style, with American fans of Green Mouth’s ‘Kerinth’ novels seeing her off at JFK airport as she prepares to fly back to Britain.

On the flight, she slowly becomes Sheila Winter again, wife of Clement Winter. She has travelled around the States for twenty-three days, signed many of the 1.5 million copies of her latest book, given a two-hour-long speech, gone without sleep, lived on pills, and more than once had had sexual intercourse with her Hispanic New York editor.

When the Winters are home and secure in their large Victorian house in North Oxford, Sheila falls asleep in a chair. Clement goes upstairs to his study, and it is then we come to the heart of the book.

This volume shows the division between the well-established Oxford don, Clement Winter, living in Rawlinson Road, Oxford, and his footloose elder brother, Joseph Winter, who has just died. Clement is finishing his work on Adaptability: Private Lives in Public Wars. He works from his home and from Carisbrooke, his college. He is a qualified analytical psychologist.

Now he must do something about his dead brother’s relics.

One thing I hoped to emphasise was the inevitable divide that existed between those who went through World War II and those who did not - even if the two were brothers.

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