V. S. Pritchett - or VSP, as he was universally known - was the finest British short story writer of the twentieth century, and one of its liveliest, most humane critics.
In this perceptive new biography Jeremy Treglown uncovers a different VSP, a character as touching as any in his own fiction.
Born in 1900, VSP began his working life as a journalist in Paris and Ireland.
In Dublin he stumbled into marriage, a relationship movingly uncovered here, and subsequently fell in love with Dorothy Roberts, 'the marvellous girl' who became his second wife.
He combined a busy working life with the demands of home and fatherhood, became a leading contributor to the New Statesman and other periodicals.
His friends over the years ranged from Sean O'Casey to Gerald Brenan, Graham Greene, George Orwell and Stephen Spender, and on to the new generation of Paul Theroux and Martin Amis.
This dazzling new biography brilliantly analyses the art and power of Pritchett's seemingly artless writings, and draws on a mass of hitherto unpublished letters and diaries to bring our 'English Chekhov' to vibrant, pungent life - 'a small man of big appetites and energies', melancholy yet hilarious, and often surprisingly passionate.