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About the author
Richard Hughes (1900-1976) was born in Surrey, England, but his ancestors came from Wales and he considered himself a Welshman. After an early childhood marked by the deaths of two older siblings and his father (his mother then went to work as a magazine journalist), Hughes attended boarding school and, with every expectation of being sent to fight in the First World War, enrolled in the military. Armistice was declared, however, before he could see active service, and Hughes was free to go to Oxford, where he became a star on the university literary scene, with a book of poems in print and a play produced in the West End by the time he graduated in 1922. Hughes’s first novel, A High Wind in Jamaica, came out in 1928 and was a best seller in the United Kingdom and America. In Hazard followed ten years later. Hughes also wrote stories for children and radio plays, but his final major undertaking was the “The Human Predicament”, an ambitious amalgamation of fact and fiction that would track the German and English branches of a single family into the disaster of the Second World War while offering a dramatic depiction of Hitler’s rise to power. The work was planned as a trilogy, but remained incomplete at the time of Hughes’s death. The first volume, The Fox in the Attic, appeared in 1960, to great critical acclaim; volume two, The Wooden Shepherdess, was published in 1973. All of Hughes’s completed novels are available from NYRB Classics.
John Crowley is the author of a dozen novels and works of fiction, among them Little, Big and the Aegypt Cycle, and, most recently, Four Freedoms. He is a three-time winner of the World Fantasy Award and a winner of the Award in Literature of the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters. Crowley teaches creative writing at Yale University. His reviews and critical essays have appeared in the Boston Review, The Yale Review, and The Washington Post.
In the press
"With his eerie narrator (Is it a surviving crew member? The author? Poseidon himself?), Hughes presents an atmospheric book that makes trouble with pirates, rocky shoals or white whales seem almost trifling."— Time Out New York
"The passages in literature that have thrilled me most have almost all been sea battles and storms. Now I have had the great and exhilarating pleasure of surviving yet another tempest in Richard Hughes’s In Hazard, now equipped with an excellent introduction by John Crowley…The novel is superb."— Katherine Powers, The Boston Globe
"Richard Hughes is a genuine case of unfair neglect, and will some day be seen again as one of the very best novelists of the past hundred years from Great Britain…In Hazard is much more than a brilliant sea story. The tale is about extreme danger and human reactions to it…It seems just as apposite to our times, when we confront a bewildering range of hazards, including the destructiveness of nature, which we ourselves are probably exacerbating."— The Financial Times
"To take the same subject as Conrad in Typhoon would be foolhardy if it were not so triumphantly justified."— Graham Greene
"The most intense reading experience of the year—easily—was discovering Richard Hughes’s 1938 novel, In Hazard, a small masterpiece of lyric terror about a cargo ship that runs into a hurricane, but also about the rest of life."— Simon Schama, The Guardian [London]
"In Hazard is not really a book about a storm, but about fear…what will stick in most minds are the sharp descriptive passages—of a scene, illuminated by lightning, when the crew looks out on a mountainside of water crawling with sharks."— Time