I took a while to get into this sturdy family saga: it was blocking the reading pile for weeks while I struggled to pay it proper attention. Then something clicked, and the peculiarities of The Fountain Overflows (1956) began to attract my attention. At first I thought that it was rather like Rose Macaulay’s Told … Continue reading Rebecca West, The Fountain Overflows
Sarah Perry, The Essex Serpent (2016) I know, I know. It’s probably the most popular novel of 2016, winning prizes, praised everywhere in the UK media for months. I was so looking forward to reading this, and I was so damn disappointed. Perhaps it was the reviews, of which ‘one of the most memorable historical … Continue reading It’s Not You, It’s Me: More Reading Disappointments
The Vondel Translation Prize - a bi-annual prize established by the Society of Authors - has been awarded to the American translator David McKay, the translator of Stefan Hertmans' novel Oorlog en Turpentijn / War and Turpentine. It's set during before, during and after the First World War, in Flanders and is based on the … Continue reading The 2017 Vondel Prize
This is the penultimate issue of Penguin New Writing, from 1950, and I think John Lehmann is losing his grip (again). He actually opens the art section with two paintings by a woman, Wilhelmina Barns-Graham: this has never happened before. Other notable contributors include Paul Bowles, Cecil Day-Lewis, Kathleen Raine and Tom Hopkinson. Lehmann's 'Foreword' … Continue reading Penguin New Writing 39: woman sighted
You might remember that I set up a publishing house this year, Handheld Press. We've published two books already - Ernest Bramah's What Might Have Been, and John Buchan's The Runagates Club - and there are three more in production. We're hoping to publish ten a year. It's looking good so far. All Handheld books … Continue reading Help make Handheld Press ebooks visible
Which Loki do you prefer? The Tom Hiddleston iteration of Loki is out and about again, in Thor: Ragnarok, which I would rate at 7 out of 10. He's a lot less Loki-ish in this film than in his earlier appearances in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and I think he loses impact by being normalised. … Continue reading Which Loki?
On Vulpes Libris I've posted a furious review of Antonia White's marvellous novel Frost in May. I've been meaning to read this for years, but could never find a second-hand copy, which I think is indicative. It's one of those novels that, if you respond to it, you have to keep it. It was also … Continue reading Now posting on Vulpes Libris: Antonia White’s Frost in May