V. S. Pritchett: A Working Life.
Random House. 322 pages, $25.95
The subtitle of Jeremy Treglown’s brief and near-perfect biography V. S. Pritchett: A Working Life is deliciously pointed. In the sixty-odd years of his career, Pritchett (1900–1996) wrote four novels, eight volumes of literary essays, six travel books, three biographies, two volumes of autobiography, ten collections of short stories, and book reviews beyond counting. Not many writers have sustained so high a level of achievement for so long; among the peaks are the novels Dead Man Leading (1937) and Mr. Beluncle (1951), the meditative travel book The Spanish Temper (1954), the autobiographical works A Cab at the Door (1968) and Midnight Oil (1971), and such short stories as “Sense of Humour,” “The Voice,” “When My Girl Comes Home,” “Did You...