Pioneering, yet little known by the general public, in her mind-bending works, she “exploded the fixed architecture of the master narrative.” The Guardian writes:
One of Britain’s most radical exponents of experimental fiction, the marvelously playful and difficult novelist was fond of the device of omission.
In her 1968 novel Between, she left out the verb “to be” throughout, to stress the narrator’s disoriented sense of personal identity – the year before George Perec’s novel La Disparition omitted the letter “e”. She left out the word “I” from her autobiographical novels, instead describing the narrator as “the old lady”.
Her first truly experimental novel, Out (1964), was narrated by a white character facing racial discrimination in the aftermath of a nuclear war, with pale skin now indicating radiation poisoning and dark skin health.
As a Women’s Auxiliary Air Force officer during the second world war, she worked at Bletchley Park, assessing intercepted German communications. She [also] worked as a reviewer and freelance journalist for the New Statesman, Observer, Sunday Times and Times Literary Supplement.