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A London bookseller introduces The Hopkins Manuscript

Jonathan Main, co-owner of the independent Bookseller Crow bookshop in Crystal Palace, introduces R.C. Sherriff’s hilarious, dystopian novel The Hopkins Manuscript for the Penguin Classics Club.

The Hopkins Manuscript

‘I am writing by the light of a piece of string which I have pushed through a fragment of bacon fat and arranged in an egg cup. I shall write by night, partly because I can no longer sleep through these ghastly, moonless chasms, and partly because by day I must search for food, and the days are short.'

So begins a manuscript recording the end of Western Civilization. There are only seven hundred people left living in London, feeding on pigeons that fall dead from Nelson’s Column and cooking them in the National Gallery over fires made from Dutch Old Masters. Edgar Hopkins, the literary descendant of Charles Pooter with whom he shares the qualities of bumptiousness, a wilful innocence and the unwitting inability to never take himself anything less than seriously - even in these final days, writing by his bacon fat, comparing himself to the Venerable Bede, hoping to produce something for posterity as highly valued to scholars of the future as the Rosetta Stone - is the man bearing witness.

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