All Things Nice

All Things Nice

(1969) Heineman

‘A sharply intelligent and enjoyable look at the high-life of Manhattan.’ Daily Telegraph

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As my very first novel, I will admit that All Things Nice is the one and only book that has quite a bit of autobiography about it – not the central relationships but a lot of the backgrounds and events. I lived in New York from 1965 to 1967, an interesting period, most seriously because of anti-Vietnam protests. I re-visited the period in my much more recent novel A Woman’s Life. I was working in the documentary department of ABC television (I’d previously worked for Associated Television in London). I was still in my early twenties and had a great deal to learn. Manhattan was quite a teacher, particularly as the longest assignment I had was to make a programme about drug addiction, then not much investigated. In the event that film was thought too shocking for the times – we showed addicts shooting up – and never broadcast. I also had been given introductions to a group of very well-off New Yorkers who were exceedingly kind to this naïve English girl – in those days an English accent was considered quite a bonus. So I moved between two world – rich and successful, poor and going under.

The blurb describes the novel I wrote:

‘Picasso-lined apartments, weekend retreats of the fashionable rich, the claustrophobic misery of the addict – Kate Reeves, an English girl in New York, tried to reconcile conflicting worlds during a long summer.’

Maybe it’s just as well All Things Nice has never been published in the US.

‘’The innocent abroad is a familiar and useful formula, and Rachel Billington has a new an unusual version of it for her first novel All Things Nice… A sharp and observant eyes for (New York’s) comedy and its squalors, and both the rich world and the poor come alive under her pen…This is a promising debut’ Evening Standard

‘A sharply intelligent and enjoyable look at the high-life of Manhatten’ Daily Telegraph

‘A witty, observant, well-mannered piece of writing that I enjoyed from first to last…I laughed a lot and had my touch of sentiment, and recommend All Things Nice as a triumphantly successful first novel, doubly remarkable as being a debut’ Illustrated London News

Suggested reading: A Woman’s Life, The Space Between

A Woman's Life The Space Between