Unpublished Anthony Burgess short story 'reveals obsession with tarot cards'

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A previously unpublished short story by Anthony Burgess indicating the author’s obsession with tarot cards is to be broadcast for the first time.

The original hand-annotated draft of Chance Would Be A Fine Thing was found among the writer’s personal papers having languished unread in archives for more than a decade.

However, the work is now to be aired on BBC Radio 3 after it was discovered by Dr Andrew Biswell, director of the International Anthony Burgess Foundation (IABF).

Although having never seen the light of day, experts claim the 11-page work is some of Burgess’s finest work and demonstrates his mastery of the short story format.

Telling the tale of two middle-aged women’s ill-fated experiments with tarot cards to bet on horses, it also suggests that Burgess had developed an interest in divination.

Seven packs of tarot cards, including a set Burgess designed himself, have also been recovered from among his possessions since his death in 1993.
It is believed that the story was rejected by literary magazines in the 1960s, at the time it was written, because he had not yet achieved fame.

Dr Biswell said he stumbled upon the manuscript while trawling through papers retrieved from Burgess’s flat in Monaco – one of 11 properties he owned around the world.

The documents had laid undisturbed there for five years after his death until they were sold to the University of Texas, who archived them.

Dr Biswell said: “There is a wealth of unpublished material – mostly film scripts and plays that were never performed – but also a handful of short stories....

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