Friday, December 2, 2016

Mark Twain and San Francisco

I think Mark Twain was the greatest ever American writer and seeing readers from San Francisco picking a quote from him following my Pinterest, prompts me to reminiscence. My previous novels In Praise of Older Women and An Innocent Millionaire were world bestsellers – except in the USA – selling more than 7 million copies. (I got some rave reviews in America as well, and sold in the US alone more than 1.5 million copies of my novels, but under the radar so to speak – for reasons which had more to do with politics than literature.)

An Innocent Millionaire portrays corruption in New York, inspired by the villains who were still in power. It was published just before the opening of America’s yearly Book Fare that happened to be in San Francisco that year.

Harold Evans brought a thousand copies to the Atlantic Monthly Press boutique which booksellers who stopped by could pick up for free. The 1000 copies were picked up within an hour. It was the most spectacular start – unmatched by any other book at the Fair. It was the talk of the day in the huge barn. Harold Evans, my publisher, was in 7th Heaven, but the NY Times in its report of the opening day of the Fair, didn’t even mention that my book was there. It was the beginning of the big silence of the New York media that more or less killed the novel in the USA.

I got a wonderful review in The San Francisco Chronicle, and all across the country, but these couldn’t overcome the silence of most of the NY media. In Europe and Latin America they claimed I was the new Balzac, some compared the novel to Monte Christo in reverse, while another critic wrote “Vizinczey portrays all the worms of the Big Apple”.

 I don’t like writers who focus their critical eye on the poor and the young – they, by and large, can hurt only themselves and certainly cannot hit back. I focus on worms in power. (“Vizinczey’s NY attorneys make Balzac’s shyster lawyers look like little orphan boys,” wrote a German critic). I make no money from An Innocent Millionaire, it is out of print, but you can pick up a used copy on Amazon quite cheaply.

I hope you will also take a look at my new novel, IF ONLY. It is available only in Britain so far, but Amazon US carries it and you can read sections of it free.

You can view and purchase a copy of my new book here


Saturday, July 2, 2016

New book released - If Only

I haven't written a blog for years - I lived in my novel If Only, which is finally printed and ready for readers. I revised the novel for decades and now I think it is perfect. Fifty years ago I published In Praise of Older Women myself because no publisher believed in it as much as I did. Now I’m publishing If Only because no publisher believes in it as much as I do.
I am reassured in my high opinion of the novel by the responses I received to the manuscript from preeminent figures in the literary world. Four of them are quoted on the back of the jacket and I am quoting them here as well to give the readers some idea of my best and most accessible work.
“There is so much here it is hard to know where to begin. A high comedy of magic and revenge on earth and in the heavens, IF ONLY seduces the reader into a landscape as recognisable as today’s business pages and as credibly fantastical as Swift or Mark Twain. Jim, the compromised hero, is, like Voltaire’s Candide, a foreigner wherever he goes. Stephen Vizinczey is razor-sharp and fiercely funny as he describes Jim’s adventures in the worlds of old and new money, where the cruelty of ruthless idiots is justified in defence of rewarded greed. Nightmares and visions unravel in translucent, witty prose. Along the way, he shows pity in unexpected places and consistently fights the fight on behalf of the universally threatened: classical music, marriage, literacy and children. Admirers of Vizinczey’s novels and essays have waited a long time for a third novel to match In Praise of Older Women and An Innocent Millionaire, and this, triumphantly, is it.”   MICHAEL RATCLIFFE

“IF ONLY is beautifully written and utterly compulsive. The opening is brilliant and Neb is a wonderful invention. I normally hate everything one can call science fiction but Neb works beautifully, mainly because he’s funny. The novel as whole is dark and bitter. Swift and other great satirists would approve. The description of modern corporate life is masterly. The ghastly Norton sums up everything one hates. As for Ward Bunting… I say dark and bitter (there is a lot of tragedy and unhappiness) but like all good fairy stories it ends happily. CHRISTOPHER SINCLAIR-STEVENSON

“Golden remarks and passages are scattered liberally through the text. The chapters about Comet Claudina and Jim Taylor’s drowning are particularly fine. A Swiftian satire for the hedge fund age. The narrative seems nailed to the floor, highly realistic about people losing their jobs, to the point where an escape from sordid reality makes an impact, and the second part of  the book soars suddenly skywards. The mixture of harsh truths and  escapist fantasy is unique and beguiling.”   GEORGE WALDEN

“I discovered Vizinczey in a bookstore in Strasbourg and was so fascinated that I was determined to become his Italian publisher. Vizinczey has a rare gift: He is able to blend disparate threads of the plot, never uses a word too many; he is incisive and profound; he describes men and, even more impressively, women with a few memorable brush strokes. His new, moving tale is, again, rich in both irony and emotion."   CESARE DE MICHELIS

You can now purchase a copy of my new book via my website at

Readers can lead a rich life without having a lot of money, simply by reading great books. Still, I’m glad I have as few rich readers who are paying £120.00 a copy of the first hardcover edition which is printed in only 100 copies. I hope, both for my sake and their sake, that those hardcovers will be worth a lot more in a few years. The first paperback edition was printed in 5000 copies with a retail price of £14.99. Those who buy the paperback from my website can do so with a click for £12.00, as long as their address is within the UK. For European addresses outside the UK a postal charge of £5.60 has to be added. International mailing charges (i.e. outside Europe) will be £7.50. The retail price of the e-book version is £9.99.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Sticks and Stones May Break My Bones...

All religious leaders condemned the assassination of the staff at the great French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, France’s Private Eye. I remember, however, that in wake of the fatwa against Salman Rushdie, religious leaders warned against hurting people’s feelings. In my submission to the House of Lords Committee considering proposals for strengthening blasphemy laws, I quoted the wise old nursery rhyme, Sticks and stones/may break my bones/but names will never hurt me. This was the drift of the majority of submissions, and the proposal for strengthening the blasphemy laws never got anywhere, but offending somebody’s feelings had become a heinous offense just the same. Jeremy Clarkson nearly lost his job at the BBC because he was thought to use an offensive word –and the examples are many. Wasn’t  a student arrested after a demonstration because he made an offensive comment to a mounted policeman?

The infantilization of Western societies continues apace. People who proclaim their support for free speech, but at the same time condemn the use of offensive words, of hurting people’s feelings in any way, are among the greatest enemies of free speech and add to the infantile atmosphere in which crazed individuals resort to murder because their beliefs were insulted. We live in a pluralistic society where people believe in different things and are touchy about different things. Hardly a day goes by without my feelings being deeply hurt, but that’s the price I am willing to pay for freedom of speech. There can be no serious discussion on any subject if we must restrain ourselves from offending anybody. The media could do a lot to restore sanity.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

My new book - 3 Wishes

I know I have not been blogging for a while because I have been so busy writing several versions of my new novel,  "3 Wishes". I have finally finished it.  I altogether through the years wrote more than 500,000 words, several versions.

The Spanish translation however was published some years ago at the time the book was over 200,000 words.  I got very good reviews for it all over the Spanish speaking world, including South America. Some critics even called me the new Swift, but I wasn't satisfied with the work and kept doing different versions.  I think I got it right now, this is my final version.

This is when I started the Novel

Now I have finally finished the novel, I think it is great and once it has been through the critics, I hope my dear fans will like my novel "3 wishes" as well.

Happy New Year 2014

:          I want to wish everybody who follows me a Happy New Year, I just finished my new novel, 3 Wishes, which is why I wasn't blogging.  
Here is a a couple of quotes from it:

 “Come on, tell me where are you from.”
            “Why do you want to know?” came the plaintive reply. “I hate prying. You should respect my privacy.”
            “There’s no way I’ll pull you to shore unless you tell me where you come from,” Jim said with the firmness of an immigration officer at a port of entry.
            “It's too far; it wouldn't mean anything to you."
            "Just tell me.”
            "You've never heard of the place!"
            Jim insisted.
            The impatient juvenile finally gave in with a sigh. "Oh, all right... I’m from the Centre of the Universe."
            "The centre of the universe?"
            "You see!” the boy exclaimed triumphantly, “I told you you'd never heard of it!"
            “How come you’re stuck on the seabed?” Jim asked, trying to bring the inveterate liar down to Earth.

 Another quote:

“My Dear Virginia, I appreciate that this is alien territory to you, but in the realm of thought, there is no such thing as mainstream.”
 One more:
“That rich, black-brown cake must have had some flour in it, certainly a pound of butter and a pound of sugar, eight eggs perhaps, but mostly it was pure chocolate, three thousand calories a bite. Jim savoured every mouthful. He could detect the difference between this cake and the cakes he had gorged on in the past when he was Senior Vice President, which had always had a bitter aftertaste of guilt, a layer of awareness that he was doing something unwise, clogging his arteries, weakening his heart and stretching his stomach, that he was a man without will-power, that he was his own worst enemy. But now as the delicious chocolate melted in his mouth and trickled down his throat, he actually felt lighter: there were no alien flavours of guilt in all that rich goodness, only the extra thrill of knowing that he could eat all the cakes in the world and they wouldn't make an ounce of difference. He could be a pig with impunity!
"Young man," Ward Banting called across the empty tables in a shaky voice. His stomach heaved and burned with hunger, but he tried to sound amused and patronizing. "How often do you indulge yourself like that?"
Jim didn't know who Banting was, but he read on his mindscreen curses against fate, the bitter thought that he could have hundreds of millions yet could not afford to touch anything with a four-figure calorie content. "I guess I'll have at least one more of these tonight," Jim said smugly.
Banting's lean but somewhat wrinkled and jowly face registered this brutal remark with a nervous twitch. "How come it doesn't show? You look like you live on lettuce!"
Jim patted his stomach with both hands. " I’ll burn it up."
Seized by a sudden surge of envy, Banting couldn’t breathe. Suddenly all the air was squeezed from his lungs and the restaurant turned dark around him. He jumped up from his chair, pounding his chest to fight whatever was squeezing him. "The bill!" he gasped, and collapsed on the tile floor.
Even before remembering that he might actually be able to help, Jim sprang to his feet. Shocked by the deathly blue of the prostrate man's head and wrinkled neck, he crouched down, tore open Banting's shirt and began to massage his chest, which was also turning blue.
The young woman behind him was screaming hysterically. "Oh, my God, oh my God!"
Working away on the motionless body, Jim wondered whether his taunt about the cake might have had anything to do with the man’s heart attack.
"Should I call an ambulance?" the waitress asked eagerly, quite revived, assuming that Jim liked her.
Still not certain if his hands would do the trick, Jim ignored the question.
"Oh, my God, oh my God!" the young woman sobbed, beside herself with fright. "Oh God, don't let him die!"
Amanda Minton sounded as if she was having a nervous breakdown. When Banting started to breathe Jim glanced back to see whether he could help her. With strands of her long glossy black hair sticking to her tear-stained cheeks, she was down on the tiled floor, sitting on her heels, beating her knees with her fists, sobbing and crying "Oh, my God, oh, my God!" But what Jim read on her mindscreen was: Oh my God, he's going to die and he didn't change his will! Everything will go to that old bat!
Jim let her go on grieving.
Once more, wishing you a Happy New Year, don't eat or drink too much

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Learning from experience

I have just recently come across a section in last weeks Big Issue, a magazine that supports homeless peoples issues. I noticed a kind reader quoted me from the book 'The Rules of Chaos'.  The quote is that Ideology is where people go in to avoid learning from experience.  The reader applied my quote to the nature of capitalism.

The truth is if only capitalist would learn from experience, the future might look better. Alas, hardly any body learns from experience.  Of course powerful people are the worst.  The rich and the powerful tend to feel invulnerable and they think that they do not need to learn anything from experience or the past, but everybody holds dear what they believe in and they do not let facts distract them.

So to understand what is happening, we should not leave out considering the flaws of human nature.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Power and Plenty

The problem with banker’s bonuses is not only that it is highway robbery, but that it encourages a sense of invulnerability, irresponsibility and self-indulgence – as the conduct of bankers clearly shows. The banks were run far more efficiently and responsibly l when executives weren't making that kind of money. 

These guys earn enough in a single year to keep them going for life, so what do they care? They have the freedom to indulge themselves in all sorts of costly ways – costly to their shareholders, their customers and the taxpayer. The whole of history demonstrates a basic weakness of human nature: the combination of power and plenty not only corrupts, it makes people stupid. Exceptions prove the rule. Far from motivating bankers to do their best, the government tempts them to do their worst.