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On the Backstretch fills in a blank in modern literary history. Set in 1930s England, this short novel tells the tale of the prison stay of Gulley Jimson, the William Blake-spouting artist anti-hero who directly addresses the reader through Joyce Cary''s The Horse''s Mouth. In Cary''s novel Jimson tells his friends (and readers) almost nothing of his months behind bars, and seems the same man he was before being sent away. On the Backstretch uses threads and hints from Cary''s novel to propose that while Jimson remained an artist, a schemer and a reluctant advocate for his fellow man even behind bars, that he was indeed changed by his experience, and in telling this part of his history he gulls his readers into forming a uniqueand disturbingbond. On the Backstretch stands as a work in its own right, but those familiar with Cary''s novel will read both in a different light.