London, John Lane / Bodley Head, 1941. Proof. Paperback. A very good copy. Included in Anthony Burgess's list of Ninety-Nine Novels. In the introduction Burgess recounts how he read a copy returning from the war, and was struck by it's being Kafkaesque yet incorporating the three-dimensional characters more associated with English literature. He also notes that its claim to 'be regarded as a modern classic is as sound as that of Orwell's novel [Nineteen Eighty-Four]', though less obvious given its subtlety. Less obvious too than his earlier Wild Goose Chase. A quintessentially English dystopia (perhaps it wouldn't be amiss to call it a cosy dystopia, akin to the cosy catastrophes of the subsequent decade). The dystopia in question being the aerodrome itself and the local environs. A smaller scale affair, than Orwell's and most that come thereafter. An important book, undervalued in the current day, but welcome to sit on a shelf alongside Orwell, Kafka, Zamyatin and Huxley in the great early dystopias. [Clute & Nicholls, p1299 & Burgess, p132]. Condition: Lower wrap detached, some curling to corners, reading lean and a little toning. [8123, Hyraxia Books].