Cover of the 2013 Side Real Press edition of Beresford Egan's 1933 novel 'Pollen'.

When I first made an acquanitance with the work of Beresford Egan, some eighteen years or so ago, it was in his capacity as an artist and illustrator. His graphic work was clearly influenced by Aubrey Beardsley’s, but has an Art Déco flavour all its own. I learned at the time that he had also written some fiction, but only last year did I think to seek out his best-known novel Pollen (1933). I acquired a copy of the 2013 re-issue published by the Side Real Press.

It’s an account of bohemian types behaving badly in early ’30s London and Paris. Our protagonist – Lance Daurimer – is an unapologetically caddish & amoral painter, who finds a kindred spirit in the enigmatic Anna Beryl, who becomes his landlady. His cold-hearted seduction of two very different women provides the book with its plot, eventually serving him with a portion of comeuppance. I could have done with fewer of Daurimer’s tedious pronouncements on the hypocrisy of bourgeois social norms, but overall, while it’s no lost classic, I found it enjoyable, and better-written than I’d anticipated.

A reproduction of the original publicity flyer for Beresford Egan's novel 'Pollen'.