The Eve of St Venus is a delightful fantasy, blending classical myth and farce. Displaying a high degree of verbal ingenuity and intelligence, Burgess effortlessly plays with ideas to create a riotous comedy that is ultimately a celebration of love and marriage. Ambrose and Diana are to be married. However, Diana is having last-minute doubts fuelled by her feminist friend and bridesmaid Julia, while Ambrose inadvertently becomes engaged to the goddess Venus, who has taken possession of the wedding ring. These obstacles present the first in a farcical series of challenges - not only to the impending wedding, but also to the most dearly held preconceptions of Ambrose, Diana, and their wedding guests. Presented here alongside the earlier and similarly themed The Venus of Ille, by Prosper Merimee.
In addition to writing novels, Anthony Burgess (1917-94) also worked as a composer and critic. His novels are characterised by verbal inventiveness and social satire, the most famous among them being A Clockwork Orange and The Earthly Powers.