I have only recently discovered the wonderful world of Gerald Kersh. Prior to this book I had only read two others, The Angel and the Cuckoo, and Fowlers End, both are filled with numerous colourful and distinctive characters, and some wonderful dialogue. Writer Paul Duncan, who is writing a biography ofGerald Kersh, stated "I have learnt there is a sizeable number of people who think that they are the only ones who read Kersh. You can always spot a Kersh reader - they have this inner light, this twinkle in their eye, that says 'If only you knew what I know.' They know about Kersh. It's their secret. The world is foolish and chooses to ignore him. Bad luck for the world. Good luck for us." Is that now changing? Perhaps there is a revival underway...
The Implacable Hunter is one of six titles that were republished by the wonderful Faber Finds imprint in October 2013 and November 2013. The others are The Best of Gerald Kersh,Sergeant Nelson of the Guards, The Horrible Dummy and Other Stories, The Song of the Flea, The Thousand Deaths of Mr Small, and this one, The Implacable Hunter. According to the London Books website, they will be republishing Prelude to a Certain Midnight too. Nightshade & Damnations was republished in April 2013 by Valancourt Books in the UK. Truly there are heady days for the Gerald Kersh cognoscenti. I hope his readers will expand with so many of his books being republished.
Unlike the other two books I have read by Gerald Kersh, The Implacable Hunter is not set in twentieth century London. Indeed it couldn't be further removed from that milieu. In this book Kersh attempts to gain a psychogical insight into the new testament figure of Saint Paul by reimagining his early years as Saul of Tarsus, the scourge of many Christians. The story is narrated by Diomed, a colonial Roman officer stationed at Tarsus, who becomes an increasingly worried friend and mentor to Saul.
Unlike my previous two books by Gerald Kersh, I found this book something of a struggle, and for that reason I would not recommend it to the first time reader. I was glad I stuck with it but ultimately was less enamoured by this book than the others I have read. That said, if you are interested in, or excited by, a vivid reimagining of Saint Paul's early years, then you will probably find much to love in this book. Anthony Burgess, in a 1961 review for the Yorkshire Post, was very fulsome in his praise. Either way, I would urge you to investigate Gerald Kersh and help the long overdue revival gain pace. 3/5